A Federal High Court in Abuja has on Wednesday ruled that former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, was ineligible for national service.
On September 14, 2018, Adeosun had tendered her resignation after she was accused of presenting a forged National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate to the Department of State Services (DSS) for Clearance as well as to the National Assembly for screening.
“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,” she had said about the accusation in her resignation letter.
In a historic ruling, the court has said that the former minister was not supposed to present herself for National Youth Service.
The court presided over by Justice Taiwo Taiwo ruled that the ministerial appointment of Adeosun was not illegal, neither was it unconstitutional, even without presenting the NYSC certificate.
Under the 1979 Constitution, which was in force at the time of Adeosun’s graduation, she was not a Nigerian citizen either at the time of her graduation or when she turned 30.
According to the ruling, the constitution does not require her to present her first-degree certificate or any other certificate, including the NYSC certificate, to be appointed a minister.
Adeosun graduated from the University of East London in 1989 at the age of 22.
The court ruled that Nigeria citizenship only reverted under the extant constitution. Adeosun was well above 30, and by the court ruling, ineligible to participate in the NYSC scheme as the scheme is exclusively reserved for Nigeria.
The court granted all reliefs sought by Adeosun’s counsel.
In its ruling on a suit for constitutional interpretation filed at the court in March 2021 by the firm of Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, on behalf of Adeosun, the court said since the 1979 constitution, which was in force at the time, did not recognise dual citizenship, Adeosun could not have served because she was a British citizen.
Responding to the ruling, Adeosun’s lawyers said, “Today’s ruling vindicates my client. The court has made it clear that at the time she presented for public service starting from 2011 up till 2015, she was not required to perform the NYSC under the 1979 Constitution, since client graduated in 1989.”