Did Cllr. Nwabudike Violate Liberia’s Naturalization Law?

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Counsellor A. Ndubusi Nwabudike, NEC Chairman-designate

The newly appointed chairman of the National Elections Commission, Cllr. Ndubusi Nwabudike has told Senators during his confirmation hearing yesterday that he became a naturalized Liberia at the age of 17-years in 1982, a move which, according to legal scholars, is in violation of Section 21.3 of the country’s Alien and Naturalization Law.

According to Section 21.3 of the country’s Alien and Naturalization Law, “no person shall file a petition for naturalization unless he/she shall obtain the age of 21 years.”

In a question to Cllr.  Nwabudike, Senator Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount told the nominee that, “The law says before you are naturalized in Liberia you must be 21 years old and you say you were born 1964 that means you were 17 years old when you naturalized, so that suggests you were not qualified to become a naturalized citizen. There is nothing in this naturalization law that says you must bring your papa and mother to stand for you.”

After such remark, Sen. Sherman asked the nominee, Cllr. Nwabudike to concede that his naturalization was illegal but Nwabudike refused and maintained that his naturalization was legal.

In counter-argument,  Cllr. Ndubusi Nwabudike informed Sen. Sherman and his colleagues that during his application process, the court requires him to bring parental consent since he was minor and an adult also to take the oath.

“When I had my declaration of intents,  I was a minor and because of that, I was required to bring a parental consent and an adult to stand to take the oath behind me. In this jurisdiction, our law requires that if a minor wants to get married, it requires parental consent. My argument here is that the court has set a precedent that when a minor wants to make a decision or a position of an adult, parental consent is required, and it can be granted under the law when it is done in the presence of a qualified adult,” Cllr. Ndubusi Nwabudike said.

However, Sen. Sherman disagreed and told the nominee that the naturalization law did not mention parental consent in any passage as one of the requirements for naturalization.

“There is nothing in this naturalization law that says you must bring your papa or mother to stand for you,” Cllr. Sherman told the nominee.

In support of Cllr. Sheman, a lawyer who asked for anonymity confided to the Daily Observer that if Nwabudike’s explanation on Monday, March 30, during his confirmation hearing is anything to believe, it means that he has pointed to a flaw in acquiring his citizenship, which is in breach of provisions of the Alien and Naturalization Law of Liberia.

During his confirmation hearing Cllr. Nwabudike informed the senators that he was born in 1964 and subsequently obtained his citizenship in 1982, meaning that he was 17 years old when he applied for his naturalization, of which, the legal source claimed, is direct opposition to the law and procedure for one to obtain citizenship in the country.

He explained that citizenship through naturalization is governed by Chapter 21 of the Alien and Nationality Law, which is a two-step process.

The first one, according to the lawyer, is making a declaration of intent to naturalize before a Circuit Court, which procedures Nwabudike told the senators that he did when he appeared before the Criminal Court, particularly Court ‘B’, at the Temple of Justice that is responsible for naturalization.

The next step, the lawyer said, is that submission of the declaration of intent paper along with an actual petition for naturalization which must be filed between the second and third-anniversary dates of the declaration of intent.

The legal source added, “with Nwabudike’s testimony about obtaining his citizenship placing a dark cloud over his naturalization, it sets the basis for the senators to forward him to the Liberian National Bar Association for onward submission to the Grievance and Ethics Committee for further investigation.”

According to the lawyer, the senate can take such a decision “if they want to set a standard and ensure the people respect the country’s democracy.

The legal source also explained that if the Grievance and Ethics Committee finds Nwabudike liable, they could recommend him to the Supreme Court for punishment and that may include the revocation of his license and subsequent punishment, only if the lawmakers were to agree with that.

“This is a very serious crime against the state for a lawyer like Nwabudike and, if it is proved that while under Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of Liberia he could lie about his citizenship, that alone could send him to jail,” the lawyer said. “Since Nwabudike’s citizenship is still in doubt the best thing is for President George Weah to recall his nomination immediately.”

The lawyer also said the applicant must have been lawfully admitted to Liberia and must maintain continuous legal residence in Liberia between the dates of the declaration and the petition and from the date of the petition until the admission to citizenship.

“Absence from Liberia of more than six months from the declaration up to admission constitutes a failure to meet this requirement and must be of good moral character and believe in the principles of the Constitution,” the source noted, adding: “The applicant must renounce any previous nationalities and must take an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of Liberia.”

7 COMMENTS

  1. I do not know why he is always saying “our Country”. You have a very serious problem of being a Liberian yet you behaved like you are one. The entire country is in shock about how you even got to the capitol building and some are asking for you to be inside for violating Liberian Laws, you sit there acting like big boy. I want to believe Liberians are now shining there eyes on some of your who came here to buy Liberia in the name of naturalization.

  2. Well , the Chairman designate is no longer fighting for the position of Commissioner. His house of cards are crumbling right before his eyes. Knowing full well that even remaining as Commissioner of the Anti Corruption Commission will not be possible politically. His lying and trickery acts have finally caught up with him. He’s about to lose everything, now he must fight to save himself and everything. That’s the reason he is fighting for. Too late to withdraw himself from the hearing and maintained the post of Liberia’s Anti Corruption Commission. Keep on fighting Bro, but the more you fight, the more you have to provide additional answers to questions. One Senator was quoted by FPA as saying, the Senators are aware that nominees appointed by the President, many are not qualified for the position. But they usually go with the flow. Perhaps, not today for the Cllr. The End of his political career in Liberia. Perhaps he should tryout in Sierra Leone.

  3. To me, it’s about time to review and amend our naturalization laws. The laws says that a foreigner with negro decent can become a citizen through naturalization after three years of continuous residence in Liberia. We have tons of Ghanaians, Nigerians, Sierra Leoneans, Togolese, Guineans, Malians, Senegalese and other people of negro decent in Liberia who are naturalized citizens.

    We have Liberians who were born and grew up in Ghana who apply for Ghanaian citizenship and they are denied. My sister have been living in Ghana since she was five years old. She’s now 36. She applied for Ghanaian citizenship 15 years ago and her application is still being processed. She did all her schooling in Ghana, up to Masters degree and have a job in Ghana. She even speaks the local Twi language, but yet she’s not able to take on Ghanaian citizenship. Yet, a Ghanaian would come to Liberia and after three years of stay, can apply for naturalization and become a Liberian. This needs to be changed.

    Granting of citizenship to people of negro decent or anyone should be reciprocal. If other countries in the sub-region cannot give us their citizenship through naturalization, why should we give them ours? A lot of people have been saying it is time we give citizenship to Indians and Lebanese people in Liberia. Who told you that India and Lebanon would give Liberians living in their countries citizenship? In Singapore, you have to be born and live in the country for 30 years before you are eligible to apply for citizenship, and even with that, it is not a guarantee.

    • Most of our so called educated people in power do NOT know what you are talking about. I traveled and lived out of Liberia for many years. I know exactly what you are saying.
      In fact people say Liberia has 15+ tribes; which is a Lie and foolishness; looking like Liberian do NOT think? They are putting our country in lots of danger by increasing tribal conflicts, etc.
      A Liberian foreign Minister having a foreign name “Olubanke King Akerele”; look around, etc. Where is the defense of our heritage?
      Liberia has never had good Leaders.
      We are here now and educated. I hope this is the last turn, after which, Liberian with the needed Know-How, Skillsets will have the power to move our country forward.
      God bless Liberia

  4. Garyehwhala,
    Since 1847 when those people prematurely declared independence, Liberia has not shown itself to be an independent country, but rather a dependent country. To be honest with you and all readers, the size of the country is not the issue. Our country is larger than Israel. But we cannot match Israel in anything. So what’s the holdup? Why isn’t it possible for our leaders since J.J.Roberts to be able to make Liberia a better country?

    Roads…….. There’s not a darn very good road in Liberia. In the city of Monrovia, just try your luck and drive to Point 4. You will see potholes and be bounced up and down in your car. Remember 1847.

    Electricity…… The city of Monrovia is usually dark at night. The city itself is choked with people (especially with Zogos) in the downtown area of the city. Market people sell in the streets. The electricity cannot be counted on. It comes and goes. They declared independence in 1847! Electricity that comes and goes shows no independence, but rather dependence.

    Education…….. There are some unaccredited commercial or trade schools in Liberia that are run by Ghanaians. But it is impossible for any Liberian to operate a similar institution in Ghana. The students who attend some of these schools are being misled. I met a gentleman who is in the medical field (not necessarily studying to become a doctor), but he was studying something in medicine. (I don’t want to go further because he may read this).
    Does that show independence?

    Politicians…… My God, they are a bunch of corrupt individuals. That’s it! They earn huge salaries but yet, the country has no money. Talking about politicians, it is doubtful that the government of Johnson-Sirleaf offered scholarships for Liberians who have BSc degrees in Biology, Physics, Math, Chemistry or Economics to study abroad for Masters’ degrees. Most of the people who teach the above disciplines at LU are foreigners. Are we really independent?

    Food production…….. That too is at an all time low. No roads! (While in Liberia, a teacher who had not been paid for a while, devised a scheme in order to eat. The teacher told his students to bring one cup of rice each because he planned to do an experiment. The kids did, but there was
    no experimentt. When a parent of one of the students enquired, the teacher’s butt was exposed. But in defense of himself, he stated that he taught students, but he didn’t have food at home because he had not been paid for a very long time). Smart guy!

    Running water:…… You need drums of water and a bucket in your bathroom in order to flushshit. That’s how far our independence has brought us. At few places, you can flush, but overall, no way.

    Maybe one of these years, (not days) we will get there. Hah, we’ve got a long way to go. Our independence looks like dependence.

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