Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, did not participate in the mandatory one-year national youth service scheme, NYSC, despite graduating at the age of 22.
The one- year service, organised by the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC), is compulsory for all Nigerians who graduate from universities or equivalent institutions at less than 30 years of age.
Adeosun, according to a report by Premium Times, instead, forged an exemption certificate many years after graduation.
Mrs Adeosun’s official credentials 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.
She 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.
She first landed a job at British Telecoms, but left after a year to join Goodman Jones, an accounting and investment firm, as audit officer. She served there till 1993.
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.
In addition to being a requirement for government and private sector jobs in Nigeria, the enabling law prescribes punishment for anyone who absconds from the scheme or forges its certificates.
Eligible Nigerians who skipped the service are liable to be sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and/or N2,000 fine, according to Section 13 of the NYSC law.
Section 13 (3) of the law also prescribes three-year jail term or option of N5,000 fine for anyone who contravenes provision of the law as Mrs Adeosun has done.
Subsection 4 of the same section also criminalises giving false information or illegally obtaining the agency’s certificate. It provides for up to three-year jail term for such offenders.
Using that fake certificate, Mrs Adeosun went on to clinch high-profile jobs at Quo Vadis Partnerships (managing director), Ogun State Government (commissioner for finance), and Federal Government of Nigeria (minister of finance).
Opposition Party Reacts
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday charged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack, arrest and arraign Mrs. Kemi Adeosun for alleged criminal forgery of her NYSC certificate.
PDP warned President Buhari not to provide a cover for Adeosun.
The spokesman of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan in a statement in Abuja, said the revelation vindicates its stand that the Buhari Presidency is a haven of fraudsters, common thieves and persons of questionable character, adding that the recent revelation has cast a full-length dark shadow on the overall integrity of his administration.
He added: “The world can now see how the Buhari Presidency has been concealing sharp practices under it. We can now see why there is humongous corruption under President Buhari’s watch and why Mr. President has refused to take any concrete steps to check the sleazes in his administrations.
“Perhaps such ‘artful dodgers’ were deliberately hired and placed in revenue related agencies to perfect the pilfering of our common patrimony for interests in the Buhari Presidency.
“It is on this premise that PDP challenged Buhari to prove himself a man of integrity by allowing an open system-wide and independent inquest into all alleged corrupt practices in his presidency.
“We challenge President Buhari to be bold to allow an open independent inquest into the exact figures amounting to the trillions of naira oil revenue earned by the nation in the last three years and how he had spent same with Mrs. Adeosun as minister of finance.
“Mr. President should also allow an open inquest into his handling, with Mrs Adeosun, of all our depleted foreign financial instruments, including the Excess Crude Account (ECA), from which funds were taken without recourse to the National Assembly.
“President Buhari should also allow an inquest into his administration’s borrowing of over N10 trillion in 30 months, with Mrs. Adeosun as minister of finance and the purposes for which the money was used.
“We challenge President Buhari to allow an inquest into the leaked memo at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) showing N9 trillion corrupt oil contracts as well as the alleged stealing of N1.1 trillion worth of crude oil, all in a sector under his direct purview as minister of Petroleum”.