16th July 2024

Groups File Lawsuit Challenging The Authenity Of The New National Anthem,Declaring It Illegal

The Association of Legislative Drafting and Advocacy Practitioners, ALDRAP, a civil society organization comprising lawyers, has announced that it is filing a lawsuit at the Federal High Court to challenge the newly signed National Anthem Act, 2024, which led to the reintroduction of the old National Anthem, ‘Nigeria we hail thee’.

ALDRAP, which announced the decision in a statement signed by Dr Tonye Clinton Jaja, its Secretary, on Friday, said the enactment of the law which ushered in the new national anthem did not follow laid down constitutional provisions.

According to the statement, “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.”

ALDRAP added that the said National Anthem Act, 2024 should be declared illegal because it would cost enormous amounts of money and expenses on citizens to comply with the new law.

According to the group, the huge financial cost would be incurred in the form of man-hours, changes to official documents and other associated costs of learning the new national anthem, which it said would be too exorbitant on ordinary citizens without any corresponding increase in their 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 law-making as prescribed under the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, would be declared null and void and of no effect.”

According to the statement, the Incorporated Trustees of the Association of Legislative Drafting and Advocacy Practitioners, ALDRAP, is the plaintiff, while the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Clerk to the National Assembly, National wages and Salaries Commission, Revenue and Fiscal Allocation Commission, and the Accountant-General of the Federation, are the respondents.

DAILY POST reports that Tinubu had, on May 29th signed the National Anthem Act, 2024, into law, thereby reintroducing the old national anthem, ‘Nigeria we hail thee’ as Nigeria’s national anthem.

The development has generated controversy, with several Nigerians questioning the need to change the national anthem, particularly at a time the country is faced with pressing economic and security challenges.

A former Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, vowed that she would never sing the reintroduced old national anthem.

Amid the disgust and outrage being expressed by Nigerians who are kicking against the decision to dump ‘Arise oh compatriots’ for ‘Nigeria we hail thee’, the President, Tinubu, has explained that the reintroduction of the old national anthem was his priority.

Tinubu made the assertion during a meeting with the leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, at the State House in Abuja, according to a statement issued by his spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale.

“Let me allude to something that happened yesterday. The change of national anthem, ‘Nigeria, we hail thee’. Some people say, okay, say what? Is that your priority? It’s my priority. I agree with the National Assembly,” Tinubu said, in apparent response to criticisms trailing the adoption of the old national anthem.

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