Barely a week after Kemi Adeosun resigned her position as Minister of Finance following the discovery of the forgery of her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate, another minister has been found culpable of not having partaken in the NYSC scheme.
Adebayo Shittu, Oyo State governorshop aspirant and Minister of Communication, has been accused of not serving in the scheme after graduating from the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in 1978.
According to an investigation by Premium Times, Shittu completed his programme at the Law School, and was elected into the Oyo State House of Assembly.
Born in 1953, he graduated in 1978 at the age of 25, and finished Law school in 1979, same year he was elected into the house.
The NYSC Law is clear on participation in the scheme, as it is mandatory for all Nigerians who have earned degrees or higher national diplomas from tertiary institutions in Nigeria and abroad (effective 1972/73 session).
Those who qualify for exemption are those who graduated after their 30th birthday, persons with national honours and those who serve in the Police Force and Nigerian Army for a period of nine months.
However, Shittu insisted that he deliberately skipped NYSC, stating that "The constitution provides for the qualification needed for state assembly members, NYSC is not there. I didn’t need it to become a member of the state assembly, and that is already a service."
Lawyers who spoke with the newspaper agreed that Shittu deliberately skipping NYSC is a criminal offence.
Abdul Mahmud, Chairman of the Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL), said the Minister is a "dodger who is in breach of the law”.
According to Mahmud, the provision of Section 12 of the NYSC Act, indicates that the Minister should have presented his certificate before he was cleared for the position.
“The provision is clear. It says (you must serve) before you get any job in the federation," Mahmud said, noting that Shittu's “case is worse than that of Kemi Adeosun because he deliberately refused to serve”.
“If we assume as a member of the Oyo House he (Mr Shittu) served, did it not defeat objective 4 (b) stated in Section 1 (4) (b) of the NYSC Act? Members serve in states other than their own,” he said.
Mahmud called for Shittu's immediate arrest and prosecution, saying "all positions he has held are illegal and he should return all monies he earned from those posts to government coffers".