Don’t Cry For Atiku; Cry For Those Born In Nigeria On October 1st, 1960

By Ikenga Chronicles April 14, 2019

Don’t Cry For Atiku; Cry For Those Born In Nigeria On October 1st, 1960

–Dr. Vitus Ozoke

When the dust of this Atiku citizenship suit settles, it will be wise for the National Assembly to set to work to immediately fix the embarrassing loophole in section 25(1) & (2) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended). Reading them closely, you are left scratching your head, wondering what the draftsmen were drinking and smoking at the time. Here is section 25(1) & (2):

“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.”
———–

Can you notice that it is not just Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who has to argue his way into section 25(1) and (2), but every Nigerian born in Nigeria on October 1st, 1960? And I imagine there are thousands of those. The way the Constitution stands today, those Nigerians born in Nigeria on October 1st, 1960, do not have citizenship by birth. And it’s not just that they do not have citizenship by birth, they do not have citizenship at all – unless they later acquired citizenship by naturalization (registration).

Section 25 grants birth citizenship to those born in Nigeria BEFORE October 1st, 1960 and those born in Nigeria AFTER October 1st, 1960, but not to those born in Nigeria ON October 1st, 1960. That should be the real discussion. Somebody should promptly bring it to the attention of those lousy folks in the National Assembly and have them embark on constitutional amendment immediately. That’s a national embarrassment!

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