A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday cleared a former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun of allegations that she did not participate in the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and forgery of the Scheme’s discharge certificate.
The trial judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in a judgement held that Adeosun was not eligible for the NYSC scheme in 1989 when she graduated from a University in the United Kingdom.
It is compulsory for every eligible Nigerian graduate, who is less than 30 years of age to undergo the one-year national service, organised by the NYSC.
The court said Adeosun was not supposed to present herself for National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme because, under the 1979 Constitution, which was in force at the time of her graduation from the UK University, she was not a Nigerian citizen either at the time of her graduation or when she turned 30.
Delivering judgment m the suit filed on behalf of the former minister by the Law firm of Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) in March 2021, seeking constitutional interpretation, the trial Judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo held that, the constitution does not require the plaintiff to present her first-degree certificate or any other certificate, including the NYSC certificate, to be appointed a minister.
The judge further held that Adeosun’s ministerial appointment was not illegal, neither was it unconstitutional, even without presenting the NYSC certificate.
The court said since the 1979 constitution, which was in force at the time did not recognise dual citizenship, Adeosun, who graduated from the University of East London in 1989 at the age of 22, could not have served because she was a British citizen.
The court ruled that Nigeria citizenship only reverted under the extant constitution by which time Adeosun was well above 30, and ineligible to participate in the NYSC scheme, exclusively reserved for Nigerians.
Justice Taiwo held, “That, the plaintiff is under no constitutional disability, disadvantage, prohibition, inhibition or disqualification to hold any of the following offices established by the Constitution, to wit: offices of member of the House of Assembly of a State, a Commissioner in the State Executive Council; Governor of a State; member of the National Assembly; Minister in the Federal Executive Council or the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on the ground that she did not participate in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, established by the National Youth Service Corps Act, CAP N84, LFN 2004.
“The plaintiff cannot be subjected to any penalty, forfeiture or put under any encumbrance in relation to her occupation or assumption of any of the following public offices, created by the Constitution, to wit: membership of the House of Assembly of a State, a Commissioner in the State Executive Council; Governor of a State, member of the National Assembly; Minister in the Federal Executive Council, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, membership of any of the States or Federal Executive bodies, established by the Constitution or otherwise, on the ground that she did not participate in the National Youth Service Corps scheme, established by the National Youth Service Corps Act, CAP N84, LFN 2004”.
The court held that the former finance minister, being a United Kingdom Citizen as of 1989 when she graduated from the University of East London, London, United Kingdom, at the age of 22 years, was ineligible to participate in the NYSC scheme.
It would be recalled that Adeosun resigned in September 2018 on allegations that her NYSC certificate was forged.