FORMER Nigerian finance minister Kemi Adeosun has been cleared of any wrongdoing over her National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC) dispute after an Abuja high court ruled that she did not require a discharge certificate to take up her ministerial appointment.
In August 2018, national daily Premium Times, revealed that Ms Adeosun, an economist and chartered accountant, forged an NYSC exemption certificate to enable her serve in government. According to the report, Ms Adeosun’s certificate was dated September 9, 2009 and was signed by Yusuf Bomoi, a former NYSC director-general who passed away in September 2017 but he had stepped down eight months earlier in January 2009, so could not have signed it.
After weeks of silence, Ms Adeosun eventually spoke on the matter, saying she did not know that the exemption certificate was forged, pointing out that she got the it through a third party and was unaware of the fact that it was not genuine. However, the pressure had mounted on Ms Adeosun and it she has finally did the honourable thing and bowed out of office, returning to the UK where she grew up.
This morning, a Federal High Court in Abuja ruled that Ms Adeosun did not need the NYSC discharge certificate to take up any ministerial appointment or before standing for any elective office in the country. According to the court, Ms Adeosun who graduated from a London University in 1989 was already 36 years of age, so therefore was exempted from participating in the NYSC scheme.
Delivering judgment in a suit, Justice Taiwo Oladipupo Taiwo, held that Ms Adeosun from available facts was a United Kingdom citizen having been born there in 1967 and remained in the country until 2003 when she came back to Nigeria. Justice Taiwo held that Ms Adeosun became a Nigerian citizen by virtue of the 1999 Constitution which came into force on May 29 of the year, therefore, the NYSC Act has no effect on her.
In addition, the judge ruled that Ms Adeosun would have committed a grave crime against Nigeria if she had participated in the NYSC having attained the exemption age of 36 years. Two non-governmental organisations had petitioned the inspector general of police to probe the allegations against Ms Adeosun.
Given the severe nature of the allegations, Ms Adeosun’s position had became untenable as her job involved her being in the vanguard of the fight against corruption in Nigeria. she is believed to have performed creditably over the three years she has served as President Muhammadu Buhari’s finance chief, getting government parastatals to remit money to the treasury as has never been done before.
Last month, Ms Adeosun, returned to public attention with the launch of her DashMe Foundation in Abuja. Its launch was attended and chaired by vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo and according to Ms Adeosun, her social enterprise was created to transform the lives of orphans and vulnerable children, disadvantage youths and victims of domestic violence.