2023: Atiku is not eligible to run for president in Nigeria — Malami Tells Court

Attorney-general of the federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami has told a federal high court in Abuja that Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president, is not eligible to run for president in Nigeria.

Malami presented an affidavit in support of a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/177/2019 and filed before the court by the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA).

In 2019, the EMA instituted the suit challenging Atiku’s eligibility to contest for president.

They asking the court to hold among others, that considering the provisions of sections 25(1) &(2) and 131(a) of the constitution and the circumstances surrounding his birth, the former vice-president cannot contest for the top office.

The AGF through his legal team led by Oladipo Okpeseyi agreed that Atiku is not a Nigerian citizen by birth.

“The first defendant (Atiku) is not qualified to contest to be president of the federal republic of Nigeria,” Malami submitted.

“The first defendant is not a fit and proper person to be a candidate for election to the office of president of the federal republic of Nigeria.

“The first defendant was born on the 25th of November, 1946 at Jada, at the time in Northern Cameroon. By the plebiscite of 1961, the town of Jada was incorporated into Nigeria.

“The first defendant is a Nigerian by virtue of the 1961 plebiscite, but not a Nigerian by birth. The first defendant’s parents died before the 1961 plebiscite.”

Malami said the effect of the June 1, 1961 plebiscite was to have the people of Northern Cameroon integrated into Nigeria as new citizens of the country, even after Nigeria’s independence.

“This qualified all those born before the 1961 plebiscIte as citizens of Nigeria, but not Nigerian citizen by birth. Consequently, only citizens born after the 1961 plebiscite are citizens of Nigeria by birth,” he added.

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