Legal Battle Looms: Lawyers to sue Tinubu over ‘Nigeria We Hail Thee’ anthem restoration

The Association of Legislative Drafting and Advocacy Practitioners, a civil society group comprised of legal professionals, has announced its plan to initiate a lawsuit at the Federal High Court to challenge the recently passed National Anthem Act, 2024.

This legislation, signed into law on Wednesday, restored the former national anthem, ‘Nigeria We Hail Thee’, prompting the organization to pursue legal action.

ALDRAP, in a statement released on Friday and endorsed by its Secretary, Tonye Jaja, declared its stance, contending that the enactment of the law failed to adhere to essential constitutional standards, thus making 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.”

ALDRAP contends that the National Anthem Act, 2024, should be invalidated because of its impracticality and its potential to impose financial hardship on citizens.

The organization highlighted the various expenses associated with implementing the new national anthem, including manpower, updating official paperwork, and other related costs.

ALDRAP argued that these expenditures would be overly burdensome for average citizens, particularly in the absence of a corresponding rise in income.

On the grounds for the lawsuit, the statement said, “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 defendants in the lawsuit comprise the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and various other government officials.

On May 29, Tinubu endorsed the National Anthem Act, 2024, thereby restoring the former national anthem, ‘Nigeria We Hail Thee’, to its status as the official national anthem of the country.

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