Recently, precisely, July 7, 2018, there was allegation of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate forgery raised against Kemi Adeosun, minister of Finance. This has caused uproar among Nigerians who wants to know if the minister will go to jail if found guilty according to the law.
While a number of people are calling for the resignation of Adeosun following the allegation it is imperative to know what the law establishing NYSC says.
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was set up by the Yakubu Gowon administration on May 22, 1973 as a tool for re-building the nation and reconciliation after the civil war by decree No. 24.
The scheme is compulsory for all Nigerian graduates, under the age of 30, while those above the age limit are required to obtain an exemption certificate.
However, Adeosun graduated from the Polytechnic of East London in 1989, at the age of 22 with NYSC exemption certificate, which was issued in September 2009, granting her exemption from the mandatory service on account of age.
Nigeria’s Law section 13 of the NYSC Act states that any person who fails to report for service in the service corps in the manner directed by the Directorate or as the case may be, prescribed pursuant to the provisions of this Act; or who refuses to make himself available for service in the service corps continuously for the period specified in subsection (2) of this section, is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of twelve months or to both such fine and imprisonment.
This section also states that any person who fails to comply with or who contravenes or causes or aids or abets another to contravene any provision of this Act (not being a provision relating to the calling up of members of the service corps) is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N5,000 or to imprisonment for a term of three years or to both such fine and imprisonment.
In November 15, 2015, seven persons were arrested by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) over alleged falsification of the exemption and exclusion certificates of the Scheme.
The suspects, who claimed to be graduates from various institutions, were dictated through the certificates sent to the organisation by their employers for verification.
Before his election as President, the West African School Certificate result of Muhammadu Buhari was said to be forged and till date is still a mystery.
However, Adeosun is yet to provide a response to the allegation, which is an instance of gross misconduct within the cabinet of an administration that prides itself on integrity.
The NYSC certificate exemption saga is an indictment on the capability of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Department of State Security, National Assembly and National Youth Service Corps, which failed to strengthen their surveillance.
Going by what the law says and it is expected that if Adeosun is found guilty, she should face the wrath of the law. This will serve as deterrent to others.
More so, as the 2019 general election approaches, Nigeria needs to choose the right character, someone that cannot be easily blackmailed by individuals, to lead its finance ministry.
, Kemi Adeosun.