Premium Times, in an exclusive report published on Saturday has said that minister of finance Kemi Adeosun obtained a “fake” National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate.
Adeosun, who graduated from the Polytechnic of East London (now University of East London) in 1989, worked in the UK up until 2002, at age 35, when she returned to Nigeria.
The NYSC scheme is compulsory for all Nigerians who graduate from universities or equivalent institutions at less than 30 years of age. According to the NYSC law, you cannot secure a job in Nigeria without your NYSC certificate.
If you are eligible to undergo the mandatory service but skip it, you are liable to 12 months imprisonment and/or N2,000 fine, Section 13 of the NYSC law says.
The law also prescribes three-year jail term or option of N5,000 fine for anyone who contravenes provision of the law, including giving false information or illegally obtaining the agency’s certificate.
According to the NYSC law, you can only obtain an exemption certificate if:
- You graduated before 30
- You hold a national honour
- You have served in the armed forces or police for up to nine months
- You are a staff of an intelligence agency or armed forces
Premium Times’ report states that Adeosun worked in Nigeria for seven years (from 2002 to 2009) before obtaining a “certificate of exemption” which the paper has “authoritatively” reported as fake.
“The NYSC does not issue exemption certificate to anyone who, like the minister, graduates before turning 30,” Premium Times, quoting “top officials of the scheme familiar with the matter” said.
According to Premium Times, Adeosun’s certificate was purportedly signed by former NYSC DG Yusuf Bomoi and issued in September 2009. However, Bomoi, who passed in 2017, stepped down from his position in January 2009.
Adeosun has served as commissioner for finance in Ogun state (2011 – 2015) and was appointed minister of finance by President Muhammadu Buhari government following confirmation from the senate and security checks by the Department of State Services (DSS).
Premium Times states that “top officials” of the scheme have described the certificate as fake.
“This one is an Oluwole certificate. We did not issue it and we could not have issued it,” Premium Times quoted an official as saying. Oluwole is a location in Lagos known for document forgery.
Premium Times quoted another official as saying: “This is not the size of our exemption certificate. The calligraphy is also different.”
Premium Times said that the DSS failed to discover that the certificate is “fake” but the senate did and kept mum. The paper said:
The Senate, which received the fake certificate as part of the documents Mrs Adeosun submitted for her confirmation hearing, detected the discrepancy, PREMIUM TIMES understands.
But it nonetheless proceeded to clear her for the top office. Those familiar with the matter said the leadership of the National Assembly used that information to blackmail and extort Mrs Adeosun for years.
According to Premium Times, “a National Assembly cartel” used the “fake” certificate scandal “to coerce the finance minister to keep releasing funds to the lawmaking arm.” Recall that Adeosun had been enmeshed in a N10bn scandal involving the senate leaders.
The NYSC DG Sule Kazaure and Adeosun’s spokesperson Oluyinka Akintundeare yet to respond to comments from Premium Times.