By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Wednesday, cleared the former Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun of the controversy that trailed her alleged nonparticipation in the National Youths Service Corps, NYSC, scheme.
Adeosun, who served as Minister of Finance under President Muhammadu Buhari from November 11, 2015, to September 14, 2018, voluntarily resigned the position over an allegation that she illegally obtained her NYSC exemption certificate.
She subsequently approached the court, through her lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, to determine her eligibility or otherwise to participate in the NYSC scheme.
The Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, was cited as the sole Defendant in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/303/2021.
Delivering judgement in the matter on Wednesday, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, held that the former Finance Minister, being a British citizen, was not qualified to take part in the NYSC as at the time she graduated at the age of 22.
Justice Taiwo held that when Adeosun formally returned to the country and became a Nigerian citizen at over 30 years, she was also not eligible to present herself for the NYSC service.
The court further held that Plaintiff did not require a discharge certificate of NYSC to qualify to contest election to the House of Representatives or to be appointed as a Minister in Nigeria.
It said Plaintiff was not supposed to present herself for NYSC considering that under the 1979 Constitution which was in force as at the time she graduated from the University of East London in 1989, she was not a Nigerian citizen.
The court held that since the 1979 Constitution, which was in force at the time Adeosun graduated, did not recognise dual citizenship, she, therefore, could not have participated in the NYSC scheme, being a British citizen.
More so, Justice Taiwo stressed that the Constitution did not require Plaintiff to present her first-degree certificate or any other certificate, including the NYSC certificate, to be appointed a Minister.
The court proceeded to grant all four reliefs the Plaintiff sought in the suit, among which was, “a declaration that the plaintiff, being a United Kingdom citizen as at 1989 when she graduated from the University of East London, London, the United Kingdom at the age of 22 years, was ineligible to participate in the National Youth Service Corps scheme, established by the National Youth Service Corps Act, CAP N8, LFN, 2004.”