A former director of mobilisation at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Anthony Ani, says the purported exemption certificate belonging to Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, could not have been issued by the NYSC.
Ani said this on Sunrise Daily, a breakfast programme on Channels Television.
Premium Times had reported that Adeosun’s exemption certificate presented when she was screened following appointment for public service is fake.
But the NYSC responded saying Adeosun applied for exemption certificate and that it would need time to verify from its data base whether or not she was actually issued the certificate in question.
The full interview transcribed by Premium Times is below:
Under what circumstances, first, can you apply for exemption (from youth service)?
Thank you very much. First and foremost, I have to comment based on what I saw, the documents I saw, and if those documents were the documents claimed to have been submitted, erm, I want to emphatically say no, they wouldn’t have emanated from the NYSC. One is that it is important for Nigerians to know the process of mobilisation in the NYSC. Section 2 of the NYSC Act which incidentally is embedded in the constitution under Section 315, states categorically that once you graduate, you are supposed to make yourself available for mobilisation. And you don’t apply for either NYSC certificate or NYSC certificate of national service or certificate of exemption, you present yourself for mobilisation.
The system will determine whether you are to be exempted or you are not to be exempted. So, according to the law, all those who graduated with effect from 1974, who studied abroad or in Nigeria, and you are not above 30 years at the point of graduation, you are supposed to make yourself available for mobilisation and you will be deployed. If you are above 30, you will be exempted.
The other category of graduates that will exempted are those who have served in the Nigerian Police or the military for not less than nine months, if you have an honours award, if you are with the defence or security (DSS, or NSO as it used to be). These are the only people that have been exempted. But even if you graduate at the age of 20, you are in US, and you have not made yourself available to be mobilised, whenever you come back, even if you are 60 years, you have to undergo the NYSC.
Let me jump in and ask. The NYSC themselves released a statement saying yes, they saw the application for exemption. Doesn’t then suggest that a certain process is on?
Erm, maybe somebody must have applied, but that is not the process. You can write, but that is not the process. I have told you the process, you [have to] make yourself available. During mobilisation we announce that we are doing mobilisation process. Those who graduated in Nigeria, their student affairs officer brings the list of those who are graduates and we begin processing it. Now, anywhere in the world you are, you [can] access us online. If you are a graduate of any university outside the country, you [can] access us. You will now fill the form you will upload everything about you: your international passport, your certificate, school cert certificate, your transcript, everything will be uploaded and it is processed. In fact the system has now been designed that once you are above 30 the system will automatically put you for exemption. But if you are less than 30 or you are 30 at the time you graduated, the system will mobilise you.
If I understand you clearly, if one is below 30, you have to make yourself available then you are deployed so…
[Cuts in] Exactly! You either be deployed or you be exempted. If you above 30 years, even if it [by] one day, you will be exempted. But if you are below 30 or you are 30 you will be deployed.
But can’t people make themselves available, if they are below 30 and still be exempted upon application for exemption, or it doesn’t apply?
It is not so. It is not possible because it is against the NYSC Act.
So, in this particular situation now, when you apply for exemption, you’re expecting a certificate back. How long does this process take?
No, no, no! That is what I am saying [by] the NYSC procedure, you don’t apply for exemption and expect a certificate. You make yourself available [for mobilisation], when you are mobilised, those who are to be exempted are exempted and those who are to be deployed are deployed. And just as we are preparing call up letter for those who are being deployed, the exemption certificate is prepared down. It doesn’t take any time at all.
I am also wondering that in this particular case, the one being investigated by the authorities of NYSC, if for instance, a candidate goes through school, graduates and then at a certain point he is perhaps ill and is unable to avail himself at the point where he is about to turn 30 but has already undergone the process. What happens?
No, no. Even when you are sick, look at the point. At what point did you graduate and what the law says at the point you graduate even when you are sick the NYSC, even when you are weak, will take care of you that if you are strong enough to come in and serve. If you are not strong enough, after you are well you go through your school and then you present yourself but you will still serve because you graduated when you are less than 30.
What if I graduate when I am below 30 but I did not get to serve or I delay until when I am above 30 and then I come to NYSC. Can’t I be exempted?
If you read Section 2, I mean Section 13 of the NYSC Act, ordinarily, not making yourself available for service is a criminal offence. Not making yourself available is a criminal offence. However, whenever you want the NYSC certificate, whether you delay it until your are 60 years old, you must come to serve! You must come to serve because you graduated when you were below 30. That is the law. That’s the law!
Okay I am just wondering now because this particular case, the system has gone through all of those documents: Ogun state government, the Presidency, the DSS. Doesn’t this mean there isn’t any penalty?
I wish you go through Section 13 of the NYSC Act. If you give false information concerning the NYSC you are liable. If you present a certificate that was not issued by NYSC, you are liable. It’s a criminal offence. Whoever is employing anybody in this country whether private or government, once you are coming in to take that appointment you are supposed to present your NYSC certificate; either Certificate of National Service or Certificate of Exemption. And it is also the responsibility of your employer to request for it, that is what the law says.
Now, like any other society, there were some people, prior to the time we computerised the NYSC (and I must give thanks to the past two DGs and the present one on ground –these are the people who made sure we computerised the NYSC. Arising from the faults that was taking place in that system, we had syndicates who were not even NYSC staff but they were printing NYSC call up letters, NYSC certificates and doing all sorts of things.
Ref: Ripples Nigeria