Court Rules: NYSC Certificate Was Not Needed By Kemi Adeosun To Occupy Public Office
Kemi Adeosun, the former minister of finance, was not required to present a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate in order to occupy public office in Nigeria, according to a federal high court in Abuja.
The court, however, remained silent on the charge that she falsified the certificate. Adeosun resigned as a minister in 2018 after being accused of presenting a fraudulent NYSC certificate as part of her qualifications.
However, the judge in the FHC/ABJ/CS/303/21 action filed by Wole Olanipekun, a senior lawyer, on behalf of the former minister, Taiwo Taiwo, held that the former minister did not need a NYSC certificate to occupy public office.
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Adeosun, through her lawyers, contended in the original summons before the court that the constitution in force in Nigeria as of 1989, when she graduated from the University of East London in the United Kingdom, was the 1979 constitution.
The document read;
“Although the said 1979 constitution placed a condition for persons with dual citizenship to renounce their other citizenship upon attaining the age of 21 for them to retain their Nigerian citizenship, the plaintiff upon attaining the age of 21 on 9th March 1988, did not renounce her United Kingdom citizenship, and she held only to her United Kingdom citizenship until her graduation from the University of London at the age of 22, in 1989, and thereafter,”
“In essence, by the effect of the said 1979 Constitution, the plaintiff had, as at the date of her graduation from the University, forfeited her Nigerian citizenship, which did not revert to her until the promulgation of the 1999 Constitution, when she was already 32 years old.
“The truism, therefore, was that not being a Nigerian at the time of graduation, she was not eligible to participate in any scheme which was exclusively reserved for Nigerian citizens, including participation in the National Youth Service Corps scheme.”
Consequently, the court ruled that “the plaintiff, being a United Kingdom citizen as at 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 National Youth Service Corps Scheme, established by the National Youth Service Corps Act, CAP N84, LFN 2004.”
The judge also granted a declaration that “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.”