Buhari’s Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun allegedly skips NYSC, forges certificate to secure jobs
This might not be the best of times for the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun as reports have it that she allegedly skipped the compulsory one year National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) programme and have been securing high-profile jobs with a forged exemption certificate obtained from the scheme.
According to a report by Premium Times, the former Commissioner for Finance in Ogun State did not participate in the mandatory one-year scheme even after graduating before the age of 30.
Adeosun graduated from the Polytechnic of East London in 1989, at the age of 22 as Folakemi Oguntomoju and in 1992, the institution changed its name to University of East London with her certificate issued in the new name.
According to her curriculum vitae, Adeosun was born in March 1967 and having graduated at 22, it was obligatory for Adeosun to participate in the one-year national service for her to qualify for any job in Nigeria.
Going by the NYSC law, section 13, eligible Nigerians who skipped the service are liable to be sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and/or N2,000 fine.
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.
The report by Premium Times said the Finance Minister parades a purported NYSC exemption certificate, which was issued in September 2009, granting her exemption from the mandatory service on account of age.
According to the report, Adeosun’s ‘certificate’ is dated September 9, 2009, and was purportedly signed by the former director-general of NYSC, Mr Yusuf Bomoi.
But officials of the NYSC who spoke to Premium Times on condition of anonymity said Mr Bomoi stepped down from the corps in January 2009, and could not have signed any certificate for the agency eight months after. The retired brigadier general passed on in September 2017.
It is important to note that the NYSC certificate is a requirement for government and private sector jobs in Nigeria and the enabling law prescribes punishment for anyone who absconds from the scheme or forges its certificates.
Subsection 4 of Section 13 of the law criminalises giving false information or illegally obtaining the agency’s certificate. It provides for up to three-year jail term for such offenders.
According to Premium Times, upon graduation in 1989, Adeosun, who studied Applied Economics in the United Kingdom, did not return to Nigeria to serve her fatherland, but 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, 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, 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.
The NYSC does not issue exemption certificate to anyone who, like the minister, graduates before turning 30, top officials of the scheme familiar with the matter said.
Using that fake certificate, 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).
By the provision of Section 12 of the NYSC Act, employers must demand NYSC certificates from prospective employees. The law also mandates employees to present only genuine certificates for that purpose.
Section 12 of the Act reads: “For the purposes of employment anywhere in the Federation and before employment, it shall be the duty of every prospective employer to demand and obtained from any person who claims to have obtained his first degree at the end of the academic year 1973-74 or, as the case may be, at the end of any subsequent academic year the following:-
a. a copy of the Certificate of National Service of such person issued pursuant to section 11 of this Decree
b. a copy of any exemption certificate issued to such person pursuant to section 17 of this Decree
c. such other particulars relevant there to as may be prescribed by or under this Decree.”
However, without demanding or verifying the veracity of the certificate presented by Adeosun, two Nigerian companies, the Ogun State Government and the Federal Government of Nigeria employed her at various times.
In November 2015, Adeosun was sworn in as minister by President Muhammadu Buhari, and assigned the all-important finance ministry, after a supposed security and Senate screening.
The State Security Service, charged with vetting appointees to top government positions, failed to detect that her NYSC certificate was fake.
However, Premium Times reported that the Senate, which received the fake certificate as part of the documents Adeosun submitted for her confirmation hearing, 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 Adeosun for years.
The medium confirmed investigating Adeosun’s so-called NYSC certificate for months, determining eventually that it is fake.
“This one is an Oluwole certificate,” a top official of the corps said after we showed him a copy of the document. “We did not issue it and we could not have issued it.” Oluwole is a location in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, where fraudsters possess an amazing dexterity in the act of forging all kinds of documents.
Several current and former officials of the scheme said the NYSC would never issue an exemption certificate to anyone who graduated before age 30 and did not fall into the categories of persons exempted by the corps’ enabling Act.
By that law, there are four categories of Nigerians eligible for exemption certificates. The first are those who graduated after turning 30. The second are holders of national honours. The third are persons who served in the armed forces or the police for up to nine months. The last category are staff of intelligence agencies, or the armed forces.
Therefore, having graduated at 22, and with no record of national honours or service in the intelligence or armed forces, Adeosun is not qualified for exemption, officials said.
Yet, the so-called exemption certificate she holds gave age as the reason for her exemption.
“This is not the size of our exemption certificate,” another top official of the corps remarked when shown a copy of the minister’s ‘certificate’. “The calligraphy is also different”.
On another day, another staff questioned the genuineness of the ‘certificate’ based on the font of the serial number.
“Look at this, look at this other one, the numbering is different,” the staff said while comparing Adeosun’s certificate with a genuine one on file.
Adeosun’s name also failed to pop up during multiple checks of the exemption certificates registers kept by the corps, officials said.
One official, who perused the register recently, noted that the sequence of serial numbers for certificates issued in 2009 did not correspond to that in Adeosun’s purported certificate.
The signature on the ‘certificate’ is also suspect. As indicated earlier in this report, it was purportedly signed by an official who left the corps eight months before the document was made. One official described that claim as “barefaced lie and total impossibility”.
TheNewsGuru.com reports that neither the minister nor officials of the NYSC have issued any official statement as regards the allegation.