The Association of Legislative Drafting and Advocacy Practitioners (ALDRAP), a civil society organization composed of lawyers, has announced its intention to file a lawsuit at the Federal High Court.

The lawsuit aims to challenge the recently enacted National Anthem Act, 2024, which reintroduced the old National Anthem, ‘Nigeria we hail thee.’

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In a statement released by ALDRAP’s Secretary, Dr Tonye Clinton Jaja, the organization contends that the enactment of the law did not adhere to constitutional provisions.

The lawsuit will be based on several grounds, including the lack of a public hearing as required by Section 60 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution and the absence of public participation, which occurred during the enactment of the previous National Anthem in 1978.

ALDRAP also raises concerns regarding the absence of a formal letter of transmission of the bill from the President to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the National Assembly.

Additionally, the group argues that the expenditures associated with the National Anthem Act, 2024 were not included in the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s budget, rendering the law potentially illegal.

The lawsuit further asserts that implementing the new law would impose significant financial burdens on citizens, including costs related to man-hours, changes to official documents, and the expenses of learning the new national anthem.

ALDRAP argues that these costs would disproportionately affect ordinary citizens without a corresponding increase in their income.

The plaintiff in the case is the Incorporated Trustees of ALDRAP, while the respondents listed include 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, the National Wages and Salaries Commission, the Revenue and Fiscal Allocation Commission, and the Accountant-General of the Federation.

The National Anthem Act, 2024 was signed into law by President Tinubu on May 29th, reintroducing the old national anthem, ‘Nigeria we hail thee,’ as the country’s national anthem.

The decision has sparked controversy among Nigerians, who question the need for the change, particularly amid pressing economic and security challenges.

Former Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, has voiced her opposition to the reintroduction of the old national anthem and vowed not to sing it.

President Tinubu has explained that the reintroduction of the old anthem was a priority for him, despite the dissent expressed by many Nigerians.