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Lawyers to sue Tinubu, others for re-introducing old national anthem

A civil society organisation composed of legal practitioners, Association of Legislative Drafting and Advocacy Practitioners (ALDRAP), has declared its intention to file a lawsuit at the Federal High Court to contest the recently enacted National Anthem Act, 2024.

The bill, which was signed into law on Tuesday, reinstated the former national anthem, ‘Nigeria we hail thee’, which the organisation seeks to challenge through legal action.

In a statement on Friday and signed by its Secretary, Tonye Jaja, ALDRAP announced its decision and argued that the law’s enactment did not comply with the necessary constitutional requirements, rendering it unconstitutional.

The statement read, “The lawsuit would be challenging the National Anthem Act, 2024, because of the following reasons:

“No public hearing was held before the said legislation was enacted as required under Section 60 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution.

“Members of the public were not invited to make their contributions, as was done when the other National Anthem was enacted in the year 1978.

“There was no letter of transmission of the said Bill from the President to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, National Assembly.

“The expenditures associated with the National Anthem Act, 2024 (which was done on 29th May 2024 and on other dates) are not captured in the Budget of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Act, 2024 (as can be attested to by the Accountant-General of the Federation) and therefore the said National Anthem Act, 2024, should be declared illegal.”

According to ALDRAP, the National Anthem Act, 2024, should be declared null and void due to its impracticality and potential to cause financial strain on citizens.

The group noted that the financial burden of implementing the new national anthem would include costs such as man-hours, updating official documents, and other related expenses.

The group argued that these costs would be too high for ordinary citizens to bear, especially without a corresponding increase in income.

Stating the grounds for the lawsuit, the statement added, “Attorney-General of Bendel State vs. Attorney-General of the Federation (1981) is the major grounds of our application: any law that fails to comply with each stage of the legislative procedures of lawmaking as prescribed under the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, would be declared null and void and of no effect.”

The respondents in the case include the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and several other government officials.

Tinubu signed the National Anthem Act, 2024, into law on May 29, effectively reinstating the former national anthem, ‘Nigeria we hail thee’, as the country’s official national anthem.

The article was originally published on Politics Nigeria.

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