Banks fire Sahara Reporters over Saraki.

Mr Bamikole Omishore popularly known as Banks has responded to false
reports by Sahara Reporters as regards his Principal Senator Bukola
Saraki. He stated in a press release titled

IN DEFENSE OF THE TRUTH: SAHARA REPORTERS SUSPICIOUS MOTIVES FOR ATTACKING SENATOR BUKOLA SARAKI

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.

Bamikole Omishore
Special Assistant on New Media
Office of The Senate President

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