Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said he did not institute any legal action on the citizenship of the former Vice President of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar.
Mr Malami said this in a statement by Umar Gwandu, his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, in Abuja on Wednesday.
“I never filed any case before any court in the country challenging the citizenship of the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar,’’ he said.
Some media outfits (not Premium Times) had reported how Mr Malami, during a court case at the Federal High Court, Abuja, challenging Mr Abubakar’s qualifications to run for the presidency, had submitted that although Mr Abubakar was a Nigerian by citizenship, he was not a ‘Nigerian by birth’, hence could not fun for office in Nigeria.
“The first defendant (Atiku) is not qualified to contest to be president of the federal republic of Nigeria,” Mr Malami was reported to have 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.”
But Mr Malami, in his statement on Wednesday said the matter in contention was part of the 2019 pre-election matters instituted by a Civil Society Organisation – the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa – in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/177/2019.
He said that it was in respect of it that Mr Abubakar, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation were made co-defendants.
He noted that the issue had already been widely reported by the media since April, 2019.
“It is unfortunate that stale news stories capable of causing confusion are repackaged and presented to the general public as current news,” the minister said.
Mr Abubakar lost to incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari, in the 2019 presidential polls.