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Tinubu’s Guinean Passport is “Diplomatic Passport”, Embassy Confirms

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The Embassy of the Republic of Guinea in Abuja, has confirmed that the Guinean passport purportedly belonging to Nigeria’s President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is actually a diplomatic passport.

The Guinean Embassy made the confirmation following a Freedom of Information application written to the diplomatic corp by a correspondent online news portal.

The application, News Bank reports, is entitled “Freedom of Information Act Inquiry over Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Guinean Citizenship” and sought to obtain information on the passport which has been trending online.

The application followed the post of the passport by journalist and activist, David Hundeyin on Twitter and the argument as to whether or not Tinubu contravened Section 137 (1)(a) of the Nigerian Constitution, which stimulates that a person will not be qualified to be president if “he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria.”

It reads in part: “The Freedom of Information Act 2011 of the laws of the Federation of Nigeria is an Act to make public records and information more freely available, provide for public access to public records and information, protect public records and information to the extent consistent with the public interest and the protection of personal privacy.

“On the basis of the above-mentioned subject, I write to obtain detailed information on the attached document attached below which has been trending online for some time.

“According to the document, Nigeria’s president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a citizen of Guinea, besides being a citizen of Nigeria.

“Can you kindly clarify the said issue to enable me provide accurate information to the reading public?

“I will appreciate your doing in line with the Freedom of Information Act.”

Responding, the Embassy of the Republic of Guinea stated that “the diplomatic passport is issued only by the Presidency of the Republic.”

It, however, failed to “confirm the authenticity of this passport.”

The Embassy wrote: “We inform you that in the Republic of Guinea, the diplomatic passport is issued only by the Presidency of the Republic.

“Therefore, we regret that we cannot confirm the authenticity of this passport.

“To find out more, we invite you to send us an official request via the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accompanied by a copy of the passport in question that we could send to the competent authorities in Guinea to verify whether the person concerned has benefited from the Guinean nationality.”

In reaction, News Band informed the Embassy that its “response was more of a smokescreen than a response”.

The applicant averred that it does not behoove on him to approach Guinean Government through the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since “it is clear that issuing passports is an internal affair, hence, has nothing to do with my country’s Foreign Affairs”.

He maintained that he has already sent a copy of the passport in question as an attachment to the email, asking: “Do you expect me to go and collect the original from the purported holder, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is currently “resting” in France?”

He reminded the Embassy that since he made no mention of “diplomatic passport” but the fact that the Embassy went ahead and confirmed that the passport in question is in circulation and that it is indeed a diplomatic one “is in itself an affirmation of some sort”.

Finally, he warned the Embassy that if within the next seven (7) days, as stipulated by Freedom of Information Act 2011, he still does not receive the desired response, he will approach a court of jurisdiction competent for redress.

The Embassy is yet to respond to the latest averment.

Twitter has since locked the account of Hundeyin, for violating its policy around personal identifying information.

He however said he has contacted Twitter to appeal the suspension, presenting a strong argument that Tinubu’s Guinean citizenship was a matter of national and public interest.

 

The Times News

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