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GOING BY THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION IS ATIKU A NIGERIAN CITIZEN

Posted On: Sun 14 Apr 2019 By Ata Ikiddeh

SOMEBODY ASKED ME, GOING BY THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION IS ATIKU A NIGERIAN CITIZEN?

 

Opinion: Sir Monday Ekong said this to me,

 

I can't get that post until you can untie it to the section of the Constitution. Shugaba was deported although not exactly on the same offence. I'm always interested in the interpretation of laws.

 

This one, are you saying we should let it go because of Atiku? If a lawyer is smart to get the right argument and ground to nail him, are you castigating the prowess of such a professional?

 

MY REPLY TO HIM:

 

Sir, look at the constitution- the whole premise on which this debate hangs on is faulty.


This is what the constitution says-

 

Chapter 3 Section 25 (1) (c)

 

The following persons are citizens of Nigeria by birth-namely-

 

(a) every person born in Nigeria before the date of independence, either of whose parents or any of whose grandparents belongs or belonged to a community indigenous to Nigeria;

 

Provided that a person shall not become a citizen of Nigeria by virtue of this section if neither of his parents nor any of his grandparents was born in Nigeria.

 

(b) every person born in Nigeria after the date of independence either of whose parents or any of whose grandparents is a citizen of Nigeria; and
*(c) every person born outside Nigeria either of whose parents is a citizen of Nigeria.

 

(2) In this section, "the date of independence" means the 1st day of October 1960.

 

The question we should therefore ask ourselves is this - were either of his parents citizens of Nigeria or rather were either of them Nigerians?

 

There is a bit of history which will help us answer that question, I got this from Wikipedia.

 

When the League of Nations ceased to exist in 1946, most of the mandate territories were reclassified as UN trust territories, henceforth administered through the UN Trusteeship Council. The object of trusteeship was to prepare the lands for eventual independence. The United Nations approved the Trusteeship Agreements for British Cameroons to be governed by Britain on 6 December 1946.

 

French Cameroun became independent, as Cameroun or Cameroon, in January 1960, and Nigeria was scheduled for independence later that same year, which raised question of what to do with the British territory. After some discussion (which had been going on since 1959), a plebiscite was agreed to, and held on 11 February 1961. The Muslim-majority Northern area opted for union with Nigeria, and the Southern area voted to join.

 

Opinion: Note there was a plebiscite, a referendum, and the region where Atiku’s parents were living in, Northern Cameroon opted to become Nigeria, Atiku parents opted to become Nigerians. Once they opted to become a part of Nigeria can we ask ourselves what citizenship they automatically acquired? Was it Cameroonian or Nigerian?

 

Let me give you a little more of that history from Wikipedia.

 

A referendum was held in British Cameroons on 11 February 1961 to determine whether the territory should join neighbouring Cameroon or Nigeria. The option of independence having been opposed by Andrew Cohen, the UK representative to the UN Trusteeship Council, it was not presented as an option. Ultimately the Muslim-majority Northern Cameroons saw a majority of 60% in favour of joining Nigeria, whilst the Christian-majority Southern Cameroons saw 70.5% in favour of integration with Cameroon. *Northern Cameroon officially became part of Nigeria on 1 June 1961.

 

Look at the constitution again.

 

The following persons are citizens of Nigeria by birth-namely-

 

*(c) every person born outside Nigeria either of whose parents is a citizen of Nigeria.

 

Atiku’s was born outside Nigeria but by reason of the plebiscite of February 11, 1961 his parents who were also born outside Nigeria officially became citizens of Nigeria on 1st June 1961. Their citizenship was automatically transferred to their young son Abubakar Atiku.

 

Look at it again - The following persons are citizens of Nigeria by birth-namely-

 

*(c) every person born outside Nigeria either of whose parents is a citizen of Nigeria.

 

Atiku is a full and bonafide citizen of Nigeria.

 

I still do not support Atiku, however let us put away this divisive dangerous political games and move this nation forward.

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