Former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Adoke, has said a former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun could not be said to remain a Nigerian citizen, having earlier forfeited her citizenship.
Under the 1963 constitution, which was in force in 1967 when Mrs Adeosun was born, a person born to Nigerian parents in a foreign country, was allowed to enjoy dual citizenship up till when he or she clocked 21.
At 21 the person must renounce the citizenship of the foreign country or would forfeit his or her Nigerian citizenship.
The law remained the same under the 1979 constitution which was in force when Mrs Adeosun graduated from the university at the age of 22 in 1989.’
But Mrs Adeosun, born in the U.K., did not renounce her British citizenship when she clocked 21, therefore forfeiting her Nigerian citizenship at the time.
“From my reading and understanding of the sections of the Constitution, it is my finding that the plaintiff not being a citizen of Nigeria in 1989 when she graduated from the University of East London, London, United Kingdom, was not eligible to participate in the National Youth Service Scheme,” Federal High Court ruled last week.
The judge agreed with Mrs Adeosun’s lawyer that she only regained her Nigerian citizenship when the 1999 constitution came into force.
He added that she was already 36 by the time she returned to Nigeria in 2003 and was no longer eligible to participate in the NYSC scheme having crossed the age limit of 30 as of then.
But when PREMIUM TIMES sought his comment on the matter, Mr Adoke, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), argued that having lost her Nigerian citizenship when she was 21 by not renouncing her U.K. citizenship as expected under the 1979 constitution, Mrs Adeosun could not automatically regain her Nigerian citizenship under the 1999 constitution without going through any process.