A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday has absolved former Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun of all controversies and ‘fictitious’ reports surrounding her participation in the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC).
Justice Taiwo Oladipupo Taiwo, the presiding judge in his ruling held that the former minister does not need a NYSC certificate or a discharge certificate to take up any ministerial appointment or before standing for any elective office in the country.
The court held that Adeosun who graduated in a London University in 1989 was already 36 years of age whe she became a Nigerian citizen, therefore, exempted from participating in the NYSC scheme.
The judge, in his ruling held that Adeosun, who was born in 1967 is a citizen of the United Kingdom (UK) and remained there till 2003. Hence, she was not eligible to participate in the scheme when she graduated at 22 years because she was then a British citizen alone.
The judge further held that as at when she formally returned to Nigeria, and became a Nigerian citizen, at over 30 years, she was not eligible to present herself for the NYSC service.
Justice Taiwo also held that Adeosun became a Nigerian citizen by virtue of the 1999 Constitution which came into force on May 29 of that year, therefore, the NYSC Act would have had no effect on her.
The judge further added that the former minister would have committed a grave crime against Nigeria if she had participated in the NYSC having attained the exemption age of 36 years.
Adeosun came under heavy criticism following one report which claimed that she skipped the mandatory NYSC scheme and subsquently forged an exemption certificate to cover for it.
Also, the former minister resigned from her position on account of forging the exemption certificate as claimed by the said findings contained in that report.
The year-long service, organised by the NYSC is compulsory for all Nigerians who graduate from a university or equivalent institution at the age of 30 or below.
In addition to being a requirement for government and private sector jobs in Nigeria, the enabling law prescribes punishment for anyone who absconds from the scheme or forges its certificates.