Liberia: Cllr. Nwabudike Takes Govt to Court over Criminal Court ‘B’ Declaration Of Lack of Document to Corroborate His Naturalization Claims
Monrovia – Lawyers representing the rejected nominee for the Chairperson position of Liberia’s National Elections Commission, Cllr. Ndubusi Nwabudike have filed an application at the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court known as the Civil Law Court against the Government of Liberia seeking to restore his constitutional rights as a citizen of Liberia.
The move comes in the wake of Criminal Court ‘B’ report that there is no document in the archive of the court to prove that Cllr. Nwabudike is a naturalized Liberian citizen as he claims.
Cllr. Nwabudike, defending his Liberian citizenship at the Senate, testified that although he was born to Nigerian parents, he opted to naturalize as a Liberian in 1982 at age 17 year.
The revelation by Cllr. Nwabudike sparked huge indignation from Senators and a large segment of the public including opposition political parties and civil society organizations, and led President George Weah to flip flop on his decision and withdrew his nomination.
However, Cllr. Nwabudike’s trouble did not end with his rejection to head the Voting House as the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA), the very professional body he has been a member of for many years, announced that it was launching an investigation to determine if he achieved his Liberian nationality in 1982 legally.
While the LNBA’s investigation is ongoing, Human Rights Lawyer, Cllr. Finley Karngar flew to Criminal Court B at the Temple of Justice, requesting the court to make available every document that would authenticate whether Cllr. Nwabudike is a legally naturalized Liberian. But the court in response said it did not find any document in its archive to prove that he is a Liberian.
“This is to certify that after a perusal of the records of this Honorable Court on the herein above named person (Augustus Ndubusi Nwabudike) regarding his naturalization of May A. D. 1982, we have not found any document up to the issuance of this certificate,” wrote Ben George Teah, Clerk of Court in a statement issued on Monday, April 6.
Teah continued: “In furtherance of our check, we communicated with the Liberia Immigration Service and they replied that after a thorough search of their records, they have not found any information on the aforesaid individual regarding his legal residence status or naturalization.”
In the wake of Criminal Court B’s response, Cllr. Nwabudike has embarked on the campaign to prove his citizenship.
Through his lawyer, Cllr. Alexander Zoe, he filed a thirteen-count petition to the Court to declare him a naturalized citizen.
Cllr. Zoe said his petition for ‘Declaratory Judgment’ is in consistent with Chapter 43, Section 43.1 of the Civil Procedure Law of Liberia.
He claimed Cllr. Nwabudike obtained his citizenship legally on May 13, 1982 at the “Peoples’ Court” now called the Frist Judicial Circuit Criminal Court ‘B’ during the People Redemption Council (PRC) regime.
This was the period between 1980 and 1985, following the overthrown of the civilian Government headed by the late President William R. Tolbert, Jr. by low ranking officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia.
During this period in the nation’s history, the Constitution was suspended and the PRC Government, headed by Master Sargent Samuel Kanyon Doe ruled by decree.
It was not until 1986 that a new constitution was adopted, replacing the first constitution of 1847 and the ‘Decree’ used by the PRC in its iron fist rule.
Cllr. Zoe argued that Article 27 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia recognized Cllr. Nwabudike as a Liberian citizen.
Article 27 (a &b) states: “All persons who, on the coming into force of this Constitution were lawfully citizens of Liberia shall continue to be Liberia citizens; that in order to preserve, foster and maintain the positive Liberian culture, values and character, only persons who are Negroes or Negros descent shall qualify by birth or by naturalization to be citizens of Liberia.”
Cllr. Zoe argued that his client was a Liberian citizen prior to the adoption of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, and as such the Court should declare him a citizen to enable him continue practicing law in Liberia without any obstruction, as well as to benefit from all rights and privileges associated with the status of citizenship.
Meanwhile, the presiding Judge of the Civil Law Court, Kennedy Peabody has issued a Writ of Summon against the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Justice to appear or response before April 17, 2020 in connection with the Petitioner’s claims or risk losing the matter consistent with law.