Saturday, 23 January 2016

Oyo APC’s Alleged Dual Citizenship: Court Delivers Judgment March 8

Senator Sunmonu
Justice E.S Chukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has reserved judgment till March 8 in a suit seeking the removal of Senator Monsurat Sunmonu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Oyo State over alleged dual citizenship.
Ruling on the preliminary objection filed by counsel to Senator Sunmonu in which she is challenging the jurisdiction of the court on the matter, among other, has also been fixed for the same date.
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/760/201 filed on September 14, 2015 by five voters from Oyo Central Senatorial district, the claimants are asking the court to remove Sunmonu from office for alleged voluntarily acquisition of the United Kingdom citizenship, compel INEC to withdraw her certificate of return and bar her from parading herself as a Senator.
The claimants are: Wahab Abiodun, Alhaji Bola Akinyemi, Chief Emmanuel Olajide, Chief Samuel Elegbede and Chief Thomas Ajao, thesenator and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are joined as first and second defendants respectively.
Moving his preliminary objection on Thursday, counsel to Senator Sunmonu, Mr Tola Oshobi, described the matter as an election matter which had already been decided in favour of the defendant by the election petition tribunal and the Appellate Court.
But counsel to the claimants, Chief Titus Ashaolu (SAN), countered that the matter was a constitutional issue requiring the court to interpret Sections 66 and 107 of the 1999 Constitution which preclude anyone with dual citizenship from holding the office of a Senator.
Ashaolu said his clients were not concerned about whatever transpired at the March 28 2015 National Assembly in Oyo Central but the legality of Senator Sunmonu’s continued stay in office as a Senator, despite having sworn allegiance to the UK flag.
The counsel tendered six exhibits backed with five affidavits deposed to by the claimants, including a certified true copy of Sunmonu’s nomination forms wherein she allegedly affirmed her dual nationality.
However, Sunmonu’s counsel, argued that since the APC Senator is a Nigerian by birth, the claims made by the claimants’ counsel only affected those who acquired another citizenship by naturalization.
The plaintiffs’ counsel’s motion that the defendant’s reply on point of law to the objections raised against the preliminary objection was also heard.

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