Anoher Minister indicted in NYSC certicate forgery

Barely a week after former Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun
resigned after she owned up to been in possession of a forged
NYSC dischage certiticate, another Minister in the cabinet of
President Buhari has been accused of forging his NYSC
certicate.
According to a new report by Premiumtimes, Minister of
Communication, Adebayo Shittu, allegedly failed to participate
in the NYSC scheme despite graduating from the then
University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) at age 25.
Read the report as Published by Premumtimes below
Another minister serving in President Muhammadu
Buhari’s cabinet has been found to have skipped the
mandatory national youth service scheme, an offence
that may see him lose his position and earn him jail
term.
The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu,
failed to participate in the NYSC scheme despite
graduating from the then University of Ife (now
Obafemi Awolowo University) at age 25, PREMIUM
TIMES can authoritatively report
The revelation about Mr. Shittu, who is currently
angling to become Oyo State governor, is coming to
light about a week after Kemi Adeosun was compelled
to step down from her post as Nigeria’s finance
minister after this medium reported that she skipped
national service and then procured a fake exemption
certificate to cover her tracks.
Months of discreet checks at the NYSC headquarters
showed that the communications minister did not
present himself for service after graduation and is yet
to do so till date.
Contacted Tuesday, Mr. Shittu admitted that he did
not serve but claimed he thought his first political
post after graduation could suffice as national
service, a claim lawyers and NYSC insiders consider
as ludicrous and untenable.
Skipping the compulsory national service is an
offence under the NYSC law, punishable with up to 12
months imprisonment.
Employers are mandated by law to always request
NYSC certificate of national service from employees
as part of the conditions for hiring.
Mr Shittu, born on March 23, 1953, studied law at Ife,
graduating in 1978. He proceeded to the Nigerian Law
School, Lagos, qualifying as a lawyer in 1979.
Having earned a bachelors degree at the age of 25,
Section 2 of the NYSC Act expects Mr Shittu to have
participated in the year-long national service
Section 2 (1) of the NYSC Act mandates all Nigerians
who earn degrees or higher national diplomas from
tertiary institutions in Nigerian and abroad (effective
1972/73 session) to participate in the scheme.
Those exempted by the law are those who graduated
after their 30th birthday, persons with national
honours and individuals who serve in the military and
intelligence organisations.
Rather than enlist in the national service, Mr Shittu
went into politics after graduation, and was, in 1979,
elected member of the Oyo State House of Assembly.
The minister said he believed that having been elected
lawmaker, he needed not participate in the national
service.
He said he deliberatively skipped the NYSC scheme
because he was convinced that his membership of the
state assembly was itself a “service”.
“The constitution provides for the qualification needed
for state assembly members, NYSC is not there,” Mr.
Shittu said. “I didn’t need it to become a member of
the state assembly, and that is already a service,” he
said.
Mr Shittu disagreed with our reporter who laboured to
explain to him that the NYSC Act makes participation
in the scheme mandatory for all graduates like him
and that election or appointment to political office
does not qualify as a basis for exemption.
What the Law Says
Mr Shittu’s argument does not appear convincing
when placed against the letters of the NYSC law.
Section 2, subsection 1 of the Act makes it obligatory
for “every Nigerian” who graduate at the end of
academic year 1972-73 and subsequent years, “to
make himself available for service for a continuous
period of one year from the date specified in the call-
up instrument served upon him”.
Subsection 2 of the same section enumerated
instances of exemption from the national service,
which did not include holding political office, as Mr
Shittu claimed.
The four categories of individuals exempted from the
national service, according to the NYSC law, are those
who graduated above the age of thirty, and those who
have served in the armed forces or the Nigeria Police
for a period of more than nine months.
The third category covers staff of four security
organisations, namely the Nigerian Security
Organisation, the State Security Service, the National
Intelligence Agency and the Defence Intelligence
Service.
Exemption status is also conferred on individuals who
bagged national honours before graduation.
Illegalities?
Despite not possessing certificate of national service,
Mr Shittu went on from being a state lawmaker, to
occupying important government positions, including
his current post as minister.
Mr Shittu is a former attorney general and
commissioner for justice in his native Oyo State. He
also served as member of the Oyo State Judicial
Service Commission from 2004 to 2007.
In 2005, he was nominated minister by President
Buhari, and later assigned the communications
portfolio upon legislative screening.
It is not clear how he scaled screenings by the Oyo
State House of Assembly, the SSS, and the National
Assembly, who are all expected to screen
commissioner and ministerial nominees before their
appointment.
Mr Shittu is now aspiring for governorship of Oyo
State.
Section 12 of the NYSC Act mandates all employers
to demand the national service certificate of
prospective employees before hiring.
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. a copy of the Certificate of National Service of such
person issued pursuant to section 11 of this Decree
b. a copy of any exemption certificate issued to such
person pursuant to section 17 of this Decree
c. such other particulars relevant there to as may be
prescribed by or under this Decree.”
Section 13 of the Act also criminalises skipping the
national service as it prescribes 12 months
imprisonment or fine of N2,000 or both, for such
offenders.
Lawyers speak
Lawyers who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES said the
minister is in the breach of the NYSC law for skipping
the national service.
“His membership of the state assembly is not the
same as national service,” said Huwaila Mohammed,
a Kano-based practitioner. “He needs to serve,
because the section of the law dealing with exemption
did not include political office holders like him.”
Another lawyer, Abdul Mahmud, agreed with Ms
Mohammed’s position, saying the minister “is a
dodger who is in breach of the law”.
He said by the provision of Section 12 of the NYSC
Act, Mr Shittu ought to have presented his certificate
of national service before he was cleared as minister.
“The provision is clear,” Mr. Mahmud said. “It says
(you must serve) before you get any job in the
federation.”
Mr Mahmud, who chairs the Abuja-based pressure
group, Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL), said Mr
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.
The lawyer said Mr Shittu should be arrested
immediately by the police and made to face the law.
All positions he has held are illegal and he should
return all monies he earned from those posts to
government coffer


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