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Dual citizenship: Constitution protects me, says Saraki

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Bukola Saraki

Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has denied concealing his United Kingdom citizenship to avoid being disqualified from holding political office in Nigeria.

He explained that the constitution protects him for possessing dual citizenship being a Nigerian by birth.

Reacting to a post by an online medium that he shouldn’t have been the Senate President for being a dual citizen, as well as the allegation of bank fraud hanging on his neck, Saraki said the medium was only doing the bidding of its paymasters, who would soon be exposed.

Saraki, in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on New Media, Bamikole Omishore, recalled that on Thursday, August 6, the medium published a totally fabricated report entitled “Nigeria’s Senate President Saraki Lied In His Official Election Forms” on its website.

He described the report as dubious and utterly false, saying the point the organisation has been trying to make as regards his dual citizenship is a moot one, adding that the publication was meant to tarnish his image.

The statement said: “It is also of importance to state categorically here that Senator Saraki’s UK passport as posted on the website of the medium is a forged document that deserves thorough investigation by the UK Home and Passport Office.”

“As it stands, a detailed perusal of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria clearly indicates that the point the organisation is attempting to raise is moot, especially with regards to holding UK citizenship.

“The ready question at hand to ask is why the medium (name withheld) has intentionally remained silent and avoided to look into the constitutional provisions of right to hold dual citizenship, especially where the party in question holds Nigerian citizenship by birth.

“The second relevant question is, if in fact, the purpose of such a publication was for public interest, has Sahara Reporters carried out diligent investigation on the authenticity of its report before publication?

If the answers to the above questions are in the negative, then the rationale behind the report is for obvious reasons”, he stated.

The statement continued: “For the avoidance of doubt and for record purposes, Section 25(1) (c) of the Nigerian Constitution discredits the organisation argument that Dr. Saraki is ineligible for public office.

“The section clearly stipulates that “every person born outside Nigeria either of whose parent, 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 S. 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 S.66(1)(a) of the Constitution cannot be underestimated. The section clearly states that: “Subject to S.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 S.28, which protect the right to hold the citizenship of another country if such citizenship is acquired by birth.

“In other words, Section 28 states clearly that dual citizenship is allowable where one qualifies as a Nigerian by Birth as contained in Section 25 (1) (a), (b) and (c) of the Constitution.

“The only instance in which forfeiture of citizenship becomes applicable under the Constitution is by holders of: i) citizenship by registration under Section 26; and ii) citizenship by naturalisation, under Section 27 of the Constitution.

“It beats ordinary sense of imagination of how the media outfit went to the extent of producing and pasting fake UK passport claiming it to be that of Senator Bukola Saraki. What on earth would it benefit from such “pull him down at all cost” syndrome?

The statement informed that Senator Saraki had on July 19 instructed his solicitors in UK to write the UK Home Office to commence immediate investigation into this act of criminality.

It said, “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; where did the organisation get a forged or fake UK passport which it claims belongs to Senator Saraki and decided to post same on its website? he queried.

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Organ harvesting: Dino Melaye reacts to arrest of Ekweremadu, wife

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Dino Melaye

Former Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye has expressed his support for ex-Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu amid controversy of alleged organ harvesting.

Melaye said he stands with Ekweremadu because there was no wrongdoing by the Senator.

Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice were arrested in London for allegedly plotting to harvest the kidney of a Nigerian minor.

The UK metropolitan police had arrested and charged Ekweremadu and his wife to court, but the duo pleaded not guilty to the charges at the Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court.

“These are serious allegations and these matters are now adjourned until 7 July back here at Uxbridge,” Magistrate Lois Sheard said.

Ms Sheard remanded both defendants in custody ahead of their hearing next month.

Sharing Ekweremadu’s letter via his Twitter handle, Melaye wrote: “Sen. Ike Ekweremadu notified the British authorities on his trip with the said boy. I stand with Ike.”

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Supreme Court set to rule on controversial Electoral Act on Friday

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The Supreme Court of Nigeria will on Friday deliver judgment on the legality or otherwise of the controversial section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 .

The apex Court is set for its verdict in the suit instituted against the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation AGF and Minister of Justice.

A notice for the judgment delivery has just been sighted, indicating that the apex Court will make its position known this morning.

The notice was served on Buhari and the National Assembly on Thursday, inviting them to appear before the court today for their judgment.

Our correspondent further observed that the suit is the only one for determination today.

Buhari and Abubakar Malami had filed the suit at the Supreme Court, seeking an interpretation of the controversial clause in the Electoral Amendment Act 2022.

In the suit filed on April 29, Buhari and Malami, who are the plaintiffs, listed the National Assembly as the sole defendant.

Section 84 (12) has been a subject of intense litigation and political debate in Nigeria since President Buhari signed the amended Electoral Act 2022 into law in February this year.

Shortly after signing it into law, Buhari had asked the parliament to delete the controversial clause in the Electoral Act, but the National Assembly declined the president’s request.

According to Section 84 (12) of the legislation, “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”

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World’s most livable cities: Vienna climbs back to its No. 1 spot. These are the biggest decliners

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World’s most livable cities: Vienna climbs back to its No. 1 spot
The Stephansplatz is a square at the geographical centre of Vienna. It is named after its most prominent building, the Stephansdom, Vienna's cathedral and one of the tallest churches in the world.

After two years, Vienna has overtaken Auckland as the world’s most livable city, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Vienna ranked first in 2018 and 2019, but was overtaken by Auckland, New Zealand, during the pandemic and slipped to 12th place in 2021, according to the Global Liveability Index 2022.

The EIU said that Auckland’s position on the index dipped to the 34th place this year because of higher Covid-19 infection rates and strict border controls in 2021. Although lockdowns ended in New Zealand in December, well-vaccinated cities in Europe and Canada had begun easing restrictions earlier.

However, it’s unlikely that Auckland would’ve clinched the top position in this year’s ranking even without a pandemic, according to the EIU.

“Other cities falling was why Auckland was top last time. Without Covid, it would likely be top 10, but not number one,” said Simon Baptist, global chief economist at the research and advisory firm.

Five other European cities — Copenhagen, Zurich, Geneva, Frankfurt and Amsterdam — also made the top ten. Canada’s Calgary and Vancouver took the third and fifth spots respectively. Japan’s Osaka and Australia’s Melbourne shared 10th place — the only two “Asian” cities that made it to the top 10.

The 172 cities that were included in the rating were assessed on these categories: stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

Biggest decliners
Cities in New Zealand and Australia were the biggest fallers in the EIU’s livability ranking.

New Zealand’s capital Wellington dived by 46 places, while Australia’s Adelaide and Perth lost their 2021 positions in the top 10. They are now in the 30th and 32nd place respectively.

Australian and New Zealand cities snagged six of the top 10 spots last year, but were “much, much lower down” on this year’s list as their partial reopening coincided with the spread of the more contagious omicron variant, Baptist told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Thursday.

But the EIU is optimistic that these cities would bounce back.

“We can expect to see Australian and New Zealand cities moving up the rankings next year, when we do the next round of the survey. And this will be because they will have relaxed more of their Covid restrictions,” said Baptist.

Other cities in the region saw their rankings slip as well.

Singapore fell three spots to 37th place this year, while Hong Kong dropped to 62nd place from 49th last year.

“This is a long term change, it’s not just about Covid. That is part of it. But Hong Kong’s loss of connectivity is likely to be permanent,” said Baptist, citing the decline of cultural and political freedom in the city.

Russian cities plunged
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine saw Moscow’s livability ranking fall by 15 places, while St. Petersburg dipped by 13 spots, the EIU reported.

“Both cities record a fall in scores owing to increased instability, censorship, imposition of Western sanctions and corporates withdrawing their operations from the country,” the report said.

The war on Ukraine also affected the rankings of other Eastern European cities that have been facing political standoffs security threats, food and energy insecurities, and rising inflation, EIU said.

For example, Poland’s Warsaw and Hungary’s Budapest saw their stability scores slip as a result of rising diplomatic tensions, the EIU added.

Ukraine’s capital Kyiv was also excluded from this year’s report, and 33 new cities — 11 of them in China — were added.

The top 10
These are the world’s most livable cities and their scores, according to The Global Liveability Index 2022:

  1. Vienna, Austria (99.1)
  2. Copenhagen, Denmark (98.0)
  3. TIE — Zurich, Switzerland (96.3)
  4. TIE — Calgary, Canada (96.3)
  5. Vancouver, Canada (96.1)
  6. Geneva, Switzerland (95.9)
  7. Frankfurt, Germany (95.7)
  8. Toronto, Canada (95.4)
  9. Amsterdam, Netherlands (95.3)
  10. TIE — Osaka, Japan (95.1)
  11. TIE — Melbourne, Australia (95.1)

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