A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, said that the former Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, did not need the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC) exemption certificate to take up a ministerial appointment or vie for an elective office in the country.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in a judgment, held that Adeosun was not qualified to have participated in the scheme when she graduated at 22 years because she was then a British citizen.
Justice Taiwo further held that as at when she formally returned to Nigeria and became a Nigerian citizen at over 30 years, she was not eligible to present herself for the NYSC service.
The judge said Adeosun or anyone did not require a discharge certificate of NYSC to qualify to contest election to the House of Representatives or be appointed a minister in Nigeria.
The former finance minister, who was enmeshed in allegation of NYSC certificate forgery, resigned her appointment in 2018.
Adeosun, in an originating summon with suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/303/2021 filed on March 11 by her lawyer, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, listed the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as the sole defendant.
Justice Taiwo, while delivering the judgment, stressed that the NYSC certificate, based on the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is not a mandatory requirement for holding a political office in the country.
He held that Adeosun, from available facts, was a United Kingdom (UK) citizen having been born in the UK in 1967 and remained there till 2003 when she came back to Nigeria.
He said that Adeosun became a Nigerian citizen by virtue of the 1999 Constitution which came into force on May 29 of the year, therefore, the NYSC Act would have no effect on her.
Taiwo held that the former minister would have committed a grave crime against Nigeria if she had participated in the NYSC, having attained the exemption age of 36 years.
The judge also noted that the AGF, in his counter affidavit, did not challenge the virement of the plaintiff.
He further noted that the defendant, in one of the paragraphs of the application, stated that the Federal Government neither withdrew the ministerial appointment of the plaintiff nor asked her to resign, but that Adeosun resigned on her on accord.
“I am of the view that denying the plaintiff of the relieves sought is not going to be doing justice to the matter,” the judge held.
The judge, therefore, granted all the four relieves sought for determination by the former minister.
In the application, she sought a declaration that she is under no constitutional disability, disadvantage, prohibition, inhibition or disqualification to hold any of the following offices established by the Constitution, to wit: offices of member of the House of Assembly of a State, a Commissioner in the State Executive Council; Governor of a State; member of the National Assembly; Minister in the Federal Executive Council, on grounds that she did not participate in the NYSC scheme, established by the National Youth Service Corps Act, CAP N84, LFN 2004, among others.