Abuja, Nigeria : Mrs Kemi Adeosun, Nigeria finance minister until today, in her letter of resignation to President Muhammadu Buhari responded for the first time officially to the allegation of forging the NYSC exemption certificate.
In the letter dated today, the British-born Nigerian said she did not relocate to Nigeria until she was 34 years old, four years older than the 30-year limit for participation by corps members.
She blamed those she called ‘trusted associates’, who helped to arrange the ‘exemption certificate’, that came back to haunt her many years after.
“I obtained my first Nigerian passport at the age of thirty-four (34) and when I relocated there was debate as to whether NYSC Law applied to me. Upon enquiry as to my status relating to NYSC, I was informed that due to my residency history and having exceeded the age of thirty (30), I was exempted from the requirement to serve. Until recent events, that remained my understanding.
“On the basis of that advice and with the guidance and assistance of those, I thought were trusted associates, NYSC were approached for documentary proof of status. I then received the certificate in question. Having never worked in NYSC, visited the premises, been privy to nor familiar with their operations, I had no reason to suspect that the certificate was anything but genuine.”
Her letter also revealed that she took the decision to resign after an internal investigation ordered by President Buhari declared the exemption certificate as fake.
Read her full letter:
14th September, 2018
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria
Let me commence by thanking you profusely for the honour and privilege of serving under your inspirational leadership. It has been a truly rewarding experience to learn from you and to observe at close quarters your integrity and sense of duty.
I have, today, become privy to the findings of the investigation into the allegation made in an online medium that the Certificate of Exemption from National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) that I had presented was not genuine. This has come as a shock to me and I believe that in line with this administration’s focus on integrity, I must do the honourable thing and resign.
Your Excellency, kindly permit me to outline some of the background to this matter. I was born and raised in the United Kingdom, indeed my parental family home remains in London. My visits to Nigeria up until the age of thirty-four (34) were holidays, with visas obtained in my UK passport. I obtained my first Nigerian passport at the age of thirty-four (34) and when I relocated there was debate as to whether NYSC Law applied to me. Upon enquiry as to my status relating to NYSC, I was informed that due to my residency history and having exceeded the age of thirty (30), I was exempted from the requirement to serve. Until recent events, that remained my understanding.
On the basis of that advice and with the guidance and assistance of those, I thought were trusted associates, NYSC were approached for documentary proof of status. I then received the certificate in question. Having never worked in NYSC, visited the premises, been privy to nor familiar with their operations, I had no reason to suspect that the certificate was anything but genuine. Indeed, I presented that certificate at the 2011 Ogun State House of Assembly and in 2015 for Directorate of State Services (DSS) Clearance as well as to the National Assembly for screening. Be that as it may, as someone totally committed to a culture of probity and accountability I have decided to resign with effect from Friday, 14th September, 2018.
Your Excellency, It has been an exceptional privilege to have served our nation under your leadership and to have played a role in steering our economy at a very challenging time. I am proud that Nigeria has brought discipline into its finances, has identified and is pursuing a path to long term sustainable growth that will unlock the potential in this great economy. Under your leadership, Nigeria was able to exit recession and has now started to lay the foundations for lasting growth and wealth creation. Repositioning this huge economy is not a short term task and there are no short cuts, indeed there are tough decisions still to be made but I have no doubt that your focus on infrastructural investment, revenue mobilisation and value for money in public expenditure will deliver growth, wealth and opportunity for all Nigerians.
I thank His Excellency, the Vice President and my colleagues in the Federal Executive Council for the huge pleasure and honour of working with them. I also thank most specially, the team in the ‘Finance Family’ of advisers and heads of agencies under the Ministry of Finance. Your Excellency, this group of committed Nigerians represent a range of backgrounds, ethnicities and ages. They have worked well above and beyond the call of duty to support me in the tasks assigned. The diversity in my team and their ability to work cohesively to deliver reforms, convinces me that Nigeria has the human capital required to succeed.
Your Excellency, let me conclude by commending your patience and support, during the long search for the truth in this matter. I thank you again for giving me the honour of serving under your leadership, it is a rare privilege, which I do not take for granted. As a Nigerian and committed progressive, I appreciate you for your dogged commitment to improving this nation.
Please be assured, as always, of my highest regards and best wishes.
EARLIER : Nigeria Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun Resigns Amid Forgery Scandal
Nigeria Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, has reportedly resigned from the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. It is not clear when she submitted her resignation letter.
According to our source, 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.
However the minister is reported to have resumed in her office this morning and it is unclear when the resignation will take effect.
Kemi Adeosun had come under fire with several Nigerians, particularly on social media, demanding investigation from the Federal Government into the allegations and calling for her resignation for presenting an alleged forged exemption certificate.
The reports claimed that the finance minister, who did not participate in the one-year national youth service, allegedly forged an Exemption Certificate several years after her graduation.
The certificate, which is dated September 2009, was reportedly signed by an NYSC Director-General, Yusuf Bomoi, who already left the scheme in January 2009.
In November 2015, Adeosun was appointed as Minister of Finance under President Muhammadu Buhari after she had been cleared by the Department of State Services and by the Senate.
Minister of finance Kemi Adeosun is alleged to have aobtained a “fake” National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate.
Adeosun, who graduated from the Polytechnic of East London (now University of East London) in 1989, worked in the UK up until 2002, at age 35, when she returned to Nigeria.
The NYSC scheme is compulsory for all Nigerians who graduate from universities or equivalent institutions at less than 30 years of age. According to the NYSC law, you cannot secure a job in Nigeria without your NYSC certificate.
If you are eligible to undergo the mandatory service but skip it, you are liable to 12 months imprisonment and/or N2,000 fine, Section 13 of the NYSC law says.
The law also prescribes three-year jail term or option of N5,000 fine for anyone who contravenes provision of the law, including giving false information or illegally obtaining the agency’s certificate.
According to the NYSC law, you can only obtain an exemption certificate if:
You graduated before 30
You hold a national honour
You have served in the armed forces or police for up to nine months
You are a staff of an intelligence agency or armed forces
Premium Times’ report states that Adeosun worked in Nigeria for seven years (from 2002 to 2009) before obtaining a “certificate of exemption” which the paper has “authoritatively” reported as fake.
The NYSC does not issue exemption certificate to anyone who, like the minister, graduates before turning thirty.
Adeosun’s certificate was purportedly signed by former NYSC DG Yusuf Bomoi and issued in September 2009. However, Bomoi, who passed in 2017, stepped down from his position in January 2009.
Adeosun has served as commissioner for finance in Ogun state (2011 – 2015) and was appointed minister of finance by President Muhammadu Buhari government following confirmation from the senate and security checks by the Department of State Services (DSS).
Top officials of the NYSC scheme have reportedly described the certificate as fake.
“This one is an Oluwole certificate. We did not issue it and we could not have issued it,” an NYSC official said on condition of anonymiyty. Oluwole is a location in Lagos known for document forgery.
“This is not the size of our exemption certificate. The calligraphy is also different.” the official added.
The DSS failed to discover that the certificate is fake but the senate allegedly did and kept mum, sources say.
The Senate, which received the fake certificate as part of the documents Mrs Adeosun submitted for her confirmation hearing is alleged to have detected the discrepancy.
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.
A National Assembly cartel allegedly used the fake certificate scandal “to coerce the finance minister to keep releasing funds to the lawmaking arm.” Recall that Adeosun had been enmeshed in a N10bn scandal involving the senate leaders.
Date fixed to hear suit against Kemi Adeosun In NYSC certificate saga
The Federal High Court in Abuja has now fixed date to hear a suit asking it to sack the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun from office.
The court fixed October 8 to hear suit against her for not possessing a valid discharge certificate issued by the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC.
The Chief Judge of the high court, Justice Abdul Abdu-Kafarati, has assigned the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/712/2018, to Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu for expeditious hearing.
A constitutional lawyer, Mr. Francis Obalim, had approached the court, praying for an order quashing and setting aside Mrs. Adeosun’s appointment as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari, same being an act done in circumvention of a condition precedent and in contravention of mandatory Sections 12, 13 and 14 of the NYSC Act which is an integral part of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
He maintained that Adeosun who was cited as the 1st defendant in the matter, was not qualified to be employed by the Federal Government of Nigeria either as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or in any other capacity whatsoever, without first presenting a valid discharge certificate issued by the NYSC.
The plaintiff, through his counsel, Mr. Johnmary Jideobi, sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining FG from further according a Ministerial status to the 1st defendant, until she presents a valid certificate of discharge regularly issued by the NYSC.
He wants the court to compel the 1st defendant to refund forthwith to FG, through the Treasury Single Account domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria, all the salaries, emoluments, allowances and such other benefits she has enjoyed since her resumption as a Minister in 2015.
Other defendants in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Clerk of the Senate.