Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has alleged that an online medium forged his international passport and published it with the intention to malign his personality and satisfy the whims and caprices of its sponsors.
According to a statement by his Special Assistant on New Media, Bankole Omisore, said he had consequently asked his solicitors in the United Kingdom to write UK Home and Passport Office to immediately commence investigation into the allegation and consequently prosecute any erring person or group.
On August 6, the medium published a report entitled: ‘Nigeria’s Senate President Saraki Lied in His Official Election Forms’ on its website, where it alleged that Saraki was not a Nigerian citizen.
The statement argued that the publication was based solely on assumptions that “Saraki intentionally avoided question 10 on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) form for candidates contesting National Assembly elections and by so doing must have sworn to an oath of allegiance to another country, such as United Kingdom, the report concluded.”
“The article also suggested that the Senate President avoided stating his place of birth on the INEC form and that he is intentionally concealing his UK citizenship to avoid being disqualified in any way from political office.”
The Senate President wondered why the medium had failed to find out his constitutional right to hold dual citizenship before hastening to publish the claim, explaining that certain provisions of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) gives anyone born outside the country by Nigerian parents the right to hold dual citizenship.
He explained that only those who acquired citizenship by naturalisation are prohibited from acquiring the citizenship of another country.
“For the avoidance of doubt and for record purposes, Section 25(1)(c) of the Nigerian Constitution discredit the medium’s argument that Saraki is ineligible for public office. The section clearly stipulates that ‘every person born outside Nigeria either of whose parents is a citizen of Nigeria’ are considered ‘citizens of Nigeria by birth.’ What this means is that even if the Senate President were born in the UK, he will qualify as a citizen of Nigeria by birth under Section 25(1c) – citizen by birth through parentage.
“Also, there has always been a flawed misconception on the issue of dual citizenship vis-a-vis a holder of public office in Nigeria. Section 28 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) deals with this wherein it highlights the fact that only those who are Nigerians by registration or naturalisation shall forfeit their citizenship if they acquire the citizenship of another country.
“It is important to state at this juncture that the requirement to forfeit Nigerian nationality/citizenship upon acquisition of the nationality/citizenship of another country, does not apply to persons who are Nigerians by birth within the definition of Section 25 of the constitution. This section also acknowledges and protects the right to hold citizenship by birth of another country – as citizenship by birth is an inalienable right under the constitution.
“Furthermore, to put this particular issue to rest, the import of Section 66(1)(a) of the constitution cannot be underestimated. The section clearly states that: ‘Subject to Section 28 of the constitution, anybody who has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country must be disqualified. The key word here is ‘voluntarily’ and is subject to the provisions of Section 28, which protect the right to hold the citizenship of another country if such citizenship is acquired by birth…
“It is also of importance to state categorically here that Senator Saraki’s UK passport as posted on the website of Sahara Reporters is a forged document that deserves thorough investigation by the UK Home and Passport Office. Senator Saraki on of July 19 2015, has instructed his solicitors in the UK to write the UK Home Office to commence immediate investigation into this act of criminality. There is no doubt that this is a typical criminal offence against the state and also an act of defamation of character against the President of the Senate and whoever is found responsible should be prosecuted. The question that needs to be unravelled thereof by the UK Home and passport Office, among other things, is where did Sahara Reporters get a forged or fake UK passport which it claims it belongs to Senator Saraki and decided to post same on its website?” he asked.