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Chairman of Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL), an Abuja-based pressure group, Barr Abdul Mahmud has described the trending story of dodging the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) by the Minister of Communications, Barr Adebayo Shittu as worse than Kemi Adeosun case after all.
The minister who agreed that he did not serve or had any exemption certificate claimed that his action was right in the eye of the law based on the fact that his election into the Oyo State House of Assembly immediately after graduation at the age of 24 in 1979 replaced the mandatory service.
However, several legal luminaries had punctured his claims, saying his justification for skipping the scheme is flawed, unknown to the law and ludicrous.
In an interview in Abuja over the weekend, Mahmud averred that the minister “is a dodger who is in breach of the law” and argued that “by the provision of Section 12 of the NYSC Act, Shittu ought to have presented his certificate of national service before he was cleared as minister”.
“The provision is clear,” Mr. Mahmud said. “It says (you must serve) before you get any job in the federation.”
“Mr Shittu’s “case is worse than that of Kemi Adeosun because he deliberately refused to serve,” he said noting that “If we assume as a member of the Oyo House he (Mr Shittu) served, did it not defeat objective 4 (b) stated in Section 1 (4) (b) of the NYSC Act? Members serve in states other than their own,” he said.
While calling on Police to arrest and prosecute Shittu immediately, he noted that “All positions he has held are illegal and he should return all monies he earned from those posts to government coffers”.
Business Hilights recalls that the spokesperson of NYSC, Adenike Adeyemi had maintained that the minister’s claim that holding an elective office suffices for the obligatory national service is incorrect.
She concurred with the lawyers on the bases for exemption allowed by the law in Section 2 of the NYSC Act, saying “the referenced section exempted only four categories of Nigerians from the national service”.
“Those exempted are those who graduated after their 30th birthday, those who served in the military or the police for at least nine months as well as staff of intelligence agencies.
“Those conferred with national honours before graduation are also exempted from the scheme,” NYSC official highlighted, stressing that “Serving in an elective post, be it National (or state) Assembly is not one of them (conditions for exemption from national service)”.
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