Judiciary News

Witness Testifies at Tribunal: Lagos Deputy Governor Hamzat Renounced Nigerian Citizenship

Mrs. Olubusayo Fasidi, a U.S. immigration lawyer, on Thursday ,testified before the Lagos State Election Petition Tribunal, revealing that Lagos Deputy Governor Obafemi Hamzat took an oath of allegiance in the United States to renounce his Nigerian citizenship.

Fasidi, a Nigerian citizen herself, made this disclosure while being questioned by Dr. Olumide Ayeni (SAN), the counsel representing the petitioner, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party.

The witness stated that Hamzat, the third respondent in the petition, also applied for naturalization, as indicated in Forms 8CFR/337 and N400.

Ayeni submitted the documents to the three-man tribunal, but the counsel for all the respondents objected, stating that the reasons for their objection would be included in their final written addresses.

During cross-examination by Mr. Eric Ogiegor, the counsel representing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the witness confirmed that individuals could hold dual citizenship. However, she stated that she was not aware of the provisions in Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution regarding dual citizenship.

She clarified that she was subpoenaed before the tribunal to explain U.S. law and not Nigeria’s Constitution.

Mr. Bode Olanipekun (SAN), the counsel representing Hamzat and Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, asked the witness to disclose the jurisdiction and date of Hamzat’s naturalization application. However, she declined, stating that the information was protected by the Privacy Act of 1974.

Mr. Norris Quakers, the counsel for the All Progressives Congress (APC), inquired if the witness was aware that Hamzat had disclosed his American citizenship. The witness confirmed this, and Quakers argued that the witness had addressed matters of law rather than factual issues.

Justice Arum Ashom, presiding over the tribunal, admitted all the documents into evidence and directed the respondents’ counsel to include their objections in their final written addresses.

The other members of the tribunal include Justice Mikail Abdullahi and Justice l.P. Braimoh.

The tribunal adjourned the case until June 26 for the continuation of the hearing.

Earlier, Ayeni presented result sheets from polling units in nine local government areas of the state to demonstrate discrepancies in some areas compared to the records on INEC’s Form EC 40A.

The counsel representing INEC, Sanwo-Olu, Hamzat, and the APC objected to the admissibility of Form EC 40A, reserving their reasons for their final written addresses.

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