By Sunday Ani

A civil society organisation committed to upholding the rule of law and safeguarding national interests, Concerned Lawyers, has expressed deep concerns following the recent Supreme Court judgment permitting individuals with dual allegiance or sworn oaths to other countries to hold the position of governor in Nigeria.

The spokesperson for the group Jide Oni stated that, “This ruling directly challenges the constitutional provisions in sections 182(1)(a) and 187(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended), which explicitly disqualify those who have acquired foreign citizenship or declared allegiance to another nation from occupying the office of Governor.”

He further stated that, “Allowing leaders with dual allegiance raises serious questions about national security, especially when considering the oath of allegiance required in the United States, where individuals swear to defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies.

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In the event of a conflict, whose constitution will a Governor uphold? This uncertainty poses a severe threat, particularly in a country grappling with insecurity that has claimed thousands of lives in the past decade.”

Beyond national security concerns, Oni also noted that, “The issue of dual allegiance intertwines with endemic corruption.

Nigerian politicians have exploited dual citizenship to stash ill-gotten wealth abroad, evading accountability and perpetuating corruption. This trend undermines the development of the nation, as elites prioritise personal interests over addressing critical socioeconomic challenges.”

He concluded by calling on all stakeholders, including the National Assembly and civil society, “to engage in a robust dialogue addressing these concerns. It is crucial to ensure that constitutional provisions are upheld to maintain the integrity, national security, and socioeconomic interests of Nigeria.”