A scanned copy of a British passport purportedly belonging to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, was forged, UK authorities have stated.
The authorities however admitted that Mr. Saraki holds a valid British passport.
The controversial passport, with the name Olybukola Saraki, and number 306077175 was published by a news website as evidence of Mr. Saraki’s dual citizenship and subsequent ineligibility to hold public office in Nigeria.
Though Mr. Saraki confessed that he has a UK passport obtained by virtue of his being born in the country, he said the passport published by the website was not his and may have been forged.
In a statement released by his special assistant on new media, Bamikole Omishore, the senate president said he instructed his attorney to contact the UK Passport Office to investigate what he termed an “act of criminality.”
Mr. Saraki further 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.
“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 said on Facebook.
In response to inquiry into the matter by Mr. Saraki’s lawyer, Andrew Stephenson of Discreet Law, London, Her Majesty Passport Office confirmed that the published passport was forged.
The letter, made available to PREMIUM TIMES by Mr .Saraki’s media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, with reference number, Disc/Info/SARAKI/030915 and signed by C. Emery of Disclosure of Information department of HM Passport Office, confirmed that Mr. Saraki was issued a British passport on June 29, 2006, which will expire on 29 June, 2016. The number of Saraki’s genuine passport was, however, redacted in the letter.
The letter confirmed that the number on the scanned published passport does not relate to Mr. Saraki.
“I can further confirm that the number on the copy of the passport you supplied (marked 2 by yourselves) does not relate to Mr. Saraki,” the letter stated.
It 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.