‘Sahara Reporters suspicious motives for attacking Bukola Saraki’ – press statement

This is a press statement from the office of Senate
president, Bukola Saraki. Read below…
On Thursday, August 6th, 2015,
SaharaReporters published a totally
fabricated report entitled: “Nigeria’s Senate
President Saraki Lied In His Official Election
Forms” on its website. In that dubious and
utterly false report, SR alleged that the Senate
President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, is not a
Nigerian citizen. The article went further,
based solely on suppositions to infer that Dr.
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.
One is not unminful of the obvious fact that
freedom of expression may be absolutely basic
human right, but it is pertinent to state that it is
not without limits. This obvious fact has brought
to bear, what is the essence of journalism which
is meant to educate, orientate and bring out the
truth to ensure justice, equity and fairness in
every human endeavor. Unfortunately, it seems
the tenets of professional journalism means
nothing to Sahara Reporters.
As it stands, a detailed perusal of the Constitution
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, clearly
indicates that the point Sahara Reporters is
attempting to raise is moot – especially with
regards to holding UK citizenship. The
ready question at hand to ask is; why Sahara
Reporter 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.
For the avoidance of doubt and for record
purposes, Section 25(1)(c) of the Nigerian
Constitution discredit Sahara Reporters’
argument that Dr. 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 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. S.28 of
the 1999 Constitution (as (amended) deals with
this wherein it highlights the fact that only those
who are Nigerians by registration or
naturalization 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 can
not be underestimated. The section clearly states
that: “Subject to S.28 of the Constitution, any
body 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 naturalization, under Section 27
of the Constitution.
The Court of Appeal decision in the case of Dr.
Willie Ogebide v. Mr. Arigbe Osula {2004} 12 NWLR
Part 886 pp 127 paragraphs D-G says it all. Adeniji
JCA reading the lead judgment held that:
Holding the citizenship of another country does
not preclude, disqualify or nullify a person from
having, acquiring or retaining Nigerian citizenship
by birth. This is even more prevalent where such
citizenship has been acquired by birth.
Furthermore, there is no requirement for a dual
citizen of Nigeria (by birth) and another country
to renounce either citizenship.
In view of the above, holding dual citizenship
does not mean that a public office holder, like the
Senate President had earlier changed his
nationality in the past; it simply means he has
held both citizenships simultaneously without the
need to acquire one after the other. As both were
acquired by birth, the Senate President
automatically had both citizenships ‘bestowed’ on
him from the moment of his birth.
To this end, citizens of a country by birth do not
need to swear to an oath of allegiance to that
country; it is only citizenship acquired through
naturalization and registration that have the
requirement to take an oath of allegiance. Above
all, there is no evidence that Dr. Saraki took an
oath of allegiance or intentionally attempted to
conceal his UK citizenship – especially as he has
never denied holding the citizenship in question.
One is however uncomprensible, as it beats
ordinary sense of imagination of how Sahara
Reporters went to extent of producing and
pasting fake UK passport claiming it to be that of
Senator Bukola Saraki. What on earth would
Sahara Reporters benefit from such “pull him
down at all cost” syndrome? This is an indication
that the online media outfit is out to tarnish the
image of the President of the Senate. It is a
confirmation of the fact that Sahara Reporters is
doing the bidding of its pay masters which is well
known to all and sundry as the man behind the
scene will soon be exposed and brought to the
public domain.
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 deserve thorough investigation by
the UK Home and passport Office. Senator Saraki
on the 19th of July 2015, has instructed his
Solicitors in 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;
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?.
To this end, it is no longer shocking, based on the
antecedents of Sahara Reporters, the extent to
which Sahara Reporters and its sponsors are
willing to go to malign the person of Senator
Saraki; passing off a forged/fake document as
authentic is no doubt a criminal offence in every
jurisdiction. Now that the entire public has clarity
on Sahara Reporters and it’s criminal indulgence,
Sahara Reporters needs to explain the source of
this fake document to the UK Home Office.
Sahara Reporters, its cronies, allies and sponsors
must be ready to face the full course of law upon
conclusion of the investigation by the UK
Authorities. We hereby urge the public to remain
vigilant and be watchful of reports and and
stories published by Sahara Reporters as they
may be laced with blatant lies, deceit and
criminality devoid of any iota of truth. We shall
make public, the outcome of the investigation by
the UK Home office and passport office.

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