TNL sighted his opinion which suggests that citizenship by birth can be biological, territorial or both. Arguing extensively on the issue with some legal hypotheses, he concluded that the Opposition’s position that Atiku is not a Nigerian is a constitutional gymnastics. *Straight To The Point* BIOLOGICAL: Through parents or grandparents. All countries recognize this. TERRITORIAL: Being born on a territory that belongs to a Sovereign. Even if non of your parents or grandparents is a citizen of that country. In United States for instance, anyone born on any territory belonging the United States, including her foreign embassies, Military Bases or even Naval Ship is an American citizen by birth — Britain used to do that. HOW DOES THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION AS AMENDED RECOGNIZE THIS? The Nigerian Constitution recognizes the fusion of territorial and biological citizenship. By virtue of the 1999 Constitution, Section 25 (1)(a) if you are born before 1960, if either of your parents or grandparents BELONGS or BELONGED to a community indigenous to Nigeria OR By virtue of Section 25(1)(b) if born after October 1, 1960, if any of your parents or grandparents is a citizen of Nigeria — It is a tricky difference between the two. 25(1)(a) recognizes that some have parentage or existence that predates Nigeria existence, so it is a territorial provision. I emphasized “BELONGS or BELONGED” in Section 25(1)(a) because it is the major difference between that subsection and its (b) counterpart. The drafters of our Constitution recognize that the current territory known as Nigeria before independence has gone through some territorial shifts and were trying to be inclusive. There is no question where the territory where someone was born is NOW indigenous to Nigeria. Even if you were born before Nigeria acquires the territory. It is like a company’s acquisition, you acquire both assests and liability. All the traces of the old company is considered defunct. Section 25(1)(a) is what qualified my own grandfather, Awolowo, Azikiwe, Ahmadu Bello, etc., to be called and known as Nigerians because their own parents and even themselves BELONGED to a community now indigenous to Nigeria. When Awolowo was born in 1909, there was no territory known as Nigeria. When Azikiwe was born in 1904, there was no territory known as Nigeria. When Ahmadu Bello was born in 1910, there was no territory known as Nigeria. Their parents did not live in Nigeria. Ikenne, Onitsha and Sokoto were under different sovereigns and authorities. Therefore, they were Nigerians because their parents BELONGED to a territory or community now indigenous to Nigeria. A RELEVANT POSER? Can a man from today’s Southern Cameroon born before 1960, whose parents or grandparents were part of Nigeria before they opted to go with Cameroon claims to be a Nigerian because his parents or grandparents BELONGED to Nigeria? The answer is NO. That provision is referencing the current location of the territory (is it indigenous to Nigeria) not the location of the parents or grandparents. Meaning, it is the territory that confers the citizenship if born before 1960 not just your parents under Section 25(1)(a). Ilesa, Ikenne, Onitsha and Sokoto are now indigenous communities of Nigeria. My grandfather, Awolowo, Azikiwe, Ahmadu Bello parents BELONGED in those communuties that predate Nigeria. California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, about half of New Mexico used to belong to Mexico. Texas used to be a Sovereign State. Still, all those born in those territories at that time become American citizen by birth at the signing of the treaties ceding the territories to America not Mexicans. Remember acquisition of assets and liabilities always. HEAR THE CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER: Saying Atiku is not a Nigerian is a constitutional gymnastics.]]>
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