Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has distanced himself from the British passport widely circulated online and on social media, noting that, it was forged.
Saraki who is also battling to clear his name at the Code of Conduct Bureau over a 13-count corruption charge however stated that he holds a British passport only because he was born there.
In a statement released by his special assistant on new media, Bamikole Omishore, Saraki stated that he instructed his lawyers to contact the United Kingdom Passport Office to investigate the act of criminality.
Reacting to calls that he should step down as senate president, Saraki explained that only those who voluntarily obtained the citizenship of another country are disqualified from holding public office.
“It is important to state 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,” he said.
Adding that, “Citizens of a country by birth do not need to swear to an oath of allegiance to that country. It is only a citizenship acquired through naturalisation and registration that has the requirement to take an oath of allegiance,” he added.
Findings by his lawyer revealed that Saraki’s passport was forged. “Andrew Stephenson of Discreet Law, London, Her Majesty Passport Office confirmed that the published passport was forged,” a statement by his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu read.
While the passport making the rounds read: “Olybukola Saraki with number 306077175” information obtained on Saraki’s real passport read: “Disc/Info/SARAKI/030915” and signed by C. Emery of Disclosure of Information department of HM Passport Office.
Saraki’s current British passport was issued on June 29, 2006 and will expire on 29 June, 2016. The number of Saraki’s genuine passport was, however, redacted in the letter.
“I can further confirm that the number on the copy of the (forged) passport does not relate to Saraki.”
UK Passport Office however declined to provide detail on who owns the passport number on the published passport saying that it can only disclose such information “upon production of a United Kingdom court order” directing the department to release the information.