By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – At last, Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, has resigned over the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate scandal.
It is not clear when she submitted her resignation letter.
According to our Daily Trust, the resignation followed the allegation of not serving the compulsory National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, and obtaining a certificate that the NYSC have disowned.
The minister felt that her position is becoming untenable and is hurting the President in the run up to the 2019 election.
Recall that Premium Times had on 7th July 2018 revealed that Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun did not participate in the mandatory one-year national youth service scheme. Instead, she allegedly forged an exemption certificate many years after graduation.
The NYSC certificate which is a requirement for government and private sector jobs in Nigeria, prescribes punishment for anyone who absconds from the scheme or forges its certificates. Section 13 sub-section 5 of the law also criminalises giving false information or illegally obtaining the agency’s certificate. It provides for up to three-year jail term for such offenders.
Mrs Adeosun’s official credentials obtained by Premium Times show that the minister parades a purported NYSC exemption certificate, which was issued in September 2009, granting her exemption from the mandatory service on account of age.
Mrs Adeosun graduated from the Polytechnic of East London in 1989, at the age of 22. According to her curriculum vitae, Mrs Adeosun was born in March 1967.
The institution changed name to University of East London in 1992. Mrs Adeosun has her certificate issued in the new name.
Having graduated at 22, it is obligatory for Mrs Adeosun to participate in the one-year national service, for her to qualify for any job in Nigeria.
However, at the time of her graduation, the young Folakemi Oguntomoju, (as she then was), did not return to Nigeria to serve her fatherland.
Upon graduation in 1989, the Applied Economics graduate pursued fast-paced career in the British public and private sectors.
In 1994, Mrs Adeosun joined London Underground Company as Internal Audit Manager, before switching to Prism Consulting, a finance firm, where she worked between 1996 until 2000.
In 2000, Mrs Adeosun was hired by PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she worked for two years.
When she eventually returned to Nigeria in 2002, Mrs Adeosun still did not deem it necessary to participate in the NYSC scheme. She simply accepted a job offer at a private firm, Chapel Hill Denham.
However, ostensibly concerned that she might run into trouble for skipping the mandatory scheme, Mrs Adeosun, sometime in 2009, procured a fake exemption certificate.
The NYSC does not issue exemption certificate to anyone who, like the minister, graduates before turning 30, top officials of the scheme familiar with the matter told Premium Times.
Mrs Adeosun’s ‘certificate’ is dated September 9, 2009, and was purportedly signed by Yusuf Bomoi, a former director-general of the corps.
Officials said Mr. Bomoi stepped down from the NYSC in January 2009, and could not have signed any certificate for the corps eight months after. The retired brigadier general passed on in September 2017.
Recall also that by the provision of Section 12 of the NYSC Act, employers must demand NYSC certificates from prospective employees. The law also mandates employees to present only genuine certificates for that purpose.
Section 12 of the Act reads: “For the purposes of employment anywhere in the Federation and before employment, it shall be the duty of every prospective employer to demand and obtained from any person who claims to have obtained his first degree at the end of the academic year 1973-74 or, as the case may be, at the end of any subsequent academic year the following:-
- a copy of the Certificate of National Service of such person issued pursuant to section 11 of this Decree
- a copy of any exemption certificate issued to such person pursuant to section 17 of this Decree
- such other particulars relevant there to as may be prescribed by or under this Decree.”
In November 2015, Mrs Adeosun was sworn in as minister by President Muhammadu Buhari, and assigned the all-important finance ministry, after a supposed security and Senate screening.
The State Security Service, charged with vetting appointees to top government positions, failed to detect that her NYSC certificate was fake.
The Senate, which received the fake certificate as part of the documents Mrs Adeosun submitted for her confirmation hearing, detected the discrepancy, Premium Times understands.
But it nonetheless proceeded to clear her for the top office. Those familiar with the matter said the leadership of the National Assembly used that information to blackmail and extort Mrs Adeosun for years.
We investigated Mrs Adeosun’s so-called NYSC certificate for months, determining eventually that it is fake.
“This one is an Oluwole certificate,” a top official of the corps said after we showed him a copy of the document. “We did not issue it and we could not have issued it.” Oluwole is a location in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, where fraudsters possess an amazing dexterity in the act of forging all kinds of documents.
Several current and former officials of the scheme told this paper that the NYSC would never issue an exemption certificate to anyone who graduated before age 30 and did not fall into the categories of persons exempted by the corps’ enabling Act.
By that law, there are four categories of Nigerians eligible for exemption certificates. The first are those who graduated after turning 30. The second are holders of national honours. The third are persons who served in the armed forces or the police for up to nine months. The last category are staff of intelligence agencies, or the armed forces.
Therefore, having graduated at 22, and with no record of national honours or service in the intelligence or armed forces, Mrs Adeosun is not qualified for exemption, officials said.
Yet, the so-called exemption certificate she holds gave age as the reason for her exemption.
“This is not the size of our exemption certificate,” another top official of the corps remarked when shown a copy of the minister’s ‘certificate’. “The calligraphy is also different”.