Lagos State – The deputy governor of Lagos State, Obafemi Hamzat, has denied renouncing his Nigerian citizenship.
Last week, it was widely reported that an immigration lawyer in the United States, Olubusayo Fasidi, had told the Lagos Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal that Hamzat took an oath of allegiance in the US, to renounce his Nigerian citizenship. She stated this while testifying as a witness in the petition filed by Labour party governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, in the March 18 election in the state.
However, in the statement, Hamzat’s media office said the reports circulating are not the true reflections of the proceedings that took place at the tribunal.
The media office said the witness tendered two documents, a blank form of application for US naturalization and a blank oath of US allegiance document — tagged forms 8CFR/337 and N400 respectively which were admitted and marked as exhibits.
“When the witness was confronted with the fact that the only two documents, she was basing her claims on, were merely downloaded blank documents, the witness stated that she had downloaded the blank documents from the official website of the US Embassy. The witness was thus unable to produce the actual documents, the specific jurisdiction of the United States and the particular date when Dr Hamzat applied for naturalisation or took the purported oath of allegiance. She equally admitted that she had not attended the ceremony admitting Dr Hamzat as a citizen of the United States of America.
During her cross-examination by counsel to the 4th respondent (APC), the witness admitted to the fact that the American constitution recognizes dual citizenship with particular reference to the 14th amendment to the constitution of the United States ratified on July 9, 1868.
The witness was challenged further that the documents she tendered support the process of application for naturalisation which ultimately culminates in the issuance of an American passport and nothing more.
The witness in reaction to additional questions confirmed that she did not need to obtain a Nigerian visiting visa because she entered the country with her Nigerian passport.
With respect to the question whether the witness was aware that Dr Hamzat fully disclosed the details of his American citizenship in the Form EC9 submitted to INEC, the witness answered in the affirmative.”the statement read
The deputy governor urged the public to disregard “the deliberate falsehood”, saying the testimony of the witness is under serious challenge.
“The testimony of the witness in question is under serious challenge and in its final judgment, the tribunal will decide whether her testimony is admissible, given that she did not file a witness statement on oath and the self-contradiction of still using a Nigerian passport whilst claiming to have renounced Nigerian citizenship,” the statement added.