Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday struck out a suit challenging the Nigerian citizenship of presidential aspirant and former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Justice Ekwo struck out the suit brought by the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa, on the grounds that the plaintiff being a non-governmental organisation (NGO) has no legal right to commence such proceedings against Atiku.
According to the court, the NGO having been registered under Company and Allied Matters Act with special functions cannot jump into public interest litigation that was not part of its objective.
Justice Ekwo held that NGO’s should refrain from filing frivolous applications targeted at harassing politically-exposed Nigerians.
In the suit, the group had asked the court to disqualify Atiku as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and to restrain him from contesting the February 16, 2019, presidential election over alleged circumstances surrounding his citizenship.
The suit which was filed on February 11, 2019, had Atiku, PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice as well as the Attorney General of Adamawa State as defendants.
Specifically, the plaintiff had approached the court for an interpretation of Sections 25(1) & (2) and 131(a) of the 1999 Constitution.
By the suit, the plaintiff had prayed for, “A declaration that by the combined interpretation of Sections 25(l) & (2) and 131(a) of the Constitution and given the circumstances surrounding Atiku’s birth, he cannot be cleared by PDP and INEC to contest for post of president.”
However, the former vice president yesterday reacted to the court ruling, stating that right from the onset, it was politically motivated.
In his reaction, Atiku in a statement by his Media Aide, Paul Ibe, stated: “It was clear from the onset that this was a politically orchestrated agenda to stop His Excellency Atiku Abubakar from enjoying the rights and privileges that have been confirmed by the constitution, the grundnorm of the land.
“All these orchestrations are aimed at stopping Atiku Abubakar from serving his fatherland at the highest level and thereby denying Nigerians of the immeasurable benefits of that service.
“But we take solace in the words in the Bible that: “Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake,” Atiku declared.