The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Thursday, gave National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) seven days to provide documents on Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun’s Discharge Certificate.
A statement signed by the group’s Deputy Director, Mr Timothy Adewale, released in Abuja, said that SERAP, leveraging Freedom of Information Act, had forwarded a request, asking Director-General NYSC, Brig-Gen. Sule Kazaure, to release the documents.
Adewale said that the request urged Kazaure to urgently provide information on specific details and documents on the Exemption Certificate granted to the minister.
He said that if the information was not provided to SERAP within seven days of the receipt of the request, Registered Trustees of SERAP would take all appropriate legal actions.
“SERAP also asked Kazaure to provide information and documents on whether Mrs Adeosun applied for NYSC Exemption Certificate, and if she did, to clarify whether the NYSC actually granted her the certificate.
“SERAP also wants to know the circumstances and the provisions of the NYSC Act under which the Exemption Certificate was granted.
“This is because we need the information to determine if the crime of forgery has been committed and if so, to consider possible action in the circumstances.
“The action may also include but not limited to asking the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, to pursue prosecution or for us to consider the option of a private prosecution.”
He said that the organisation believed that by providing the FOI request on the information and documents on the Exemption Certificate, NYSC would help put an end to any insinuation of complicity.
He said that by that act, NYSC would have displaced transparency and accountability in the discharge of its statutory mandates, adding that it would also contribute to improving the integrity and image of the corps.
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According to Adewale, SERAP believes Mrs Adeosun remains innocent until the allegations against her are properly tested and proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of competent jurisdiction.
He said that continued silence of NYSC management on the matter may create an impression that an offence may have been committed, fuelling accusation that the management had something to hide.
The director stated that SERAP had urged the NYSC management to open up on the matter and provide information and documents as requested.
He said that this would be one step in the right direction, adding that SERAP was concerned about the perceived lack of transparency and accountability of NYSC management on the matter.
Adewale said that the development had seriously undermined public trust and confidence in NYSC as a public institution established to serve public interest.
He recalled that NYSC management issued a statement confirming that the minister applied for an Exemption Certificate, and promised to ‘investigate the origin of the purported Exemption Certificate in question.”
He said, however, that SERAP was concerned that the statement lacked specificity as to whether Adeosun was issued the certificate.
Adewale pointed out that though the statement was issued on July 9, 2018, NYSC management had so far failed or neglected to publish the outcome of the investigation as promised.
“Nigerians are also entitled to the right to truth derived from the obligations of the government and its institutions to carry out an investigation into allegations of issues like forgery that have been levelled against Mrs Adeosun.”
According to him, there is a binding legal duty to ensure that documents containing information relating to the granting of any NYSC Exemption Certificate are widely disseminated.