Iwu asks court to dismiss suit seeking his removal over dual nationality

No Comments » April 12th, 2008 posted by // Categories: Elections 2007




Iwu asks court to dismiss suit seeking his removal over dual nationality


Written by Ise-Oluwa Ige   

Friday, 11 April 2008


Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Maurice Iwu, yesterday requested a Federal high court sitting in Abuja to dismiss a suit instituted by the opposition Action Congress (AC) seeking for an order voiding his appointment on the ground of his dual nationality and conflicting declaration of allegiances to two countries.

He is contending, among others, that the suit is not founded on any constitutionally recognized grounds for the removal of INEC boss.

Besides, he is claiming that the plaintiffs are not only bereft of locus standi to institute the case but that the action was statute barred having been brought outside the mandatory 30 days prescribed by section 2 (a) of the Public Officer Protection Act.

He is also saying that the entire action disclosed no reasonable cause of action, thereby constituting a gross abuse of court process which cumulatively robbed the court of the jurisdiction to entertain the case.

The preliminary objection challenging the competence of the suit filed against Iwu was entered by Mr Kanu Agabi (SAN) at the registry of the high court.

The court is expected to take arguments on the objection on May 8, this year.
The opposition Action Congress (AC) had requested the high court to sack Prof Iwu from office on the ground of his dual nationality and conflicting declaration of allegiances to two countries.
Prof Iwu is a Nigerian by birth and citizen of the United States of America by registration.

Although the 1999 constitution permits dual nationality, the Action Congress is contending that the community reading of sections 28, 66(1)(a) and 156(1)(a) of the 1999 constitution, does not approve a Nigerian citizen by birth like Prof Iwu who has made a declaration of allegiance to a foreign country to hold the position of the Chairman of INEC.

The suit is also asking for an order of court disqualifying Prof Iwu from conducting fresh gubernatorial and assemblies’ polls in some states of the federation as ordered by both election petition tribunals and the Court of Appeal sitting nationwide.

Besides, the political party is inviting the court to issue a separate order compelling Prof Iwu to refund all the salaries, allowances and other benefits paid to him for the period during which he illegally occupied the exalted seat of INEC Chairman in the country.

The constitutional suit was filed by the legal team of the Action Congress (AC) led by Prof Alfred Babatunde Kasunmu (SAN).

In the originating summons lodged at the registry of the Abuja Federal high court located on OAU, Maitama, Prof Maurice Iwu, INEC and the Attorney-General of the Federation were named as defendants.

It was filed about two Mondays ago but none of the sitting judges at the Abuja division of the high court came near it because of its sensitive nature.

Vanguard gathered that immediately the case-file was brought before the then Administrative Judge of the high court, Justice Binta Murtala Nyarko, was said to have alerted the Chief Judge of the court who assured that he would fly from Lagos to take the case by himself.

The case was mentioned in court yesterday and the new Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria , Justice Abdullahi Mustapha sat on it.

Vanguard reports that the opposition Action Congress (AC) was represented by its legal team in court led by Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN).

At the last adjourned date, the court had ordered that Prof Iwu should be served the originating summons in the case and all relevant processes through INEC’s Director of Legal Services.


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