Online newspaper Premium Times of Nigeria Saturday published a story detailing the outcome of its investigations into the NYSC certificate submitted by finance minister Kemi Adeosun. It alleges that the exemption certificate was a forgery, a crime that carries a term of imprisonment under Nigerian law.
Adeosun has yet to react to the charge.
The opposition PDP has latched on the PT story to call for Adeosun’s sack and prosecution.
The Muhammadu Buhari presidency is not likely to come to the minister’s defence or bury the scandal as it did those involving SGF Babachir Lawal and Abdulrasheed Maina accused in the past of contract fraud and pension theft respectively.
The allegation, if proven, will obviously dent the Buhari regime’s image as well as underline the inefficiency of so-called security and anti-corruption agencies. Appointees to public offices are screened by the EFCC, DSS and others. It took Buhari six months to announce a cabinet, under the pretext he was looking for angels.
PT also found that the Senate had detected the irregularity in the NYSC certificate but used it to blackmail her into signing out huge sums of money to it. Another source alleged it was another minister prevented from taking $17m from the Abacha loot that was behind the revelation.
Adeosun, 51, graduated from a London polytechnic in 1989. On her return to Nigeria in 2002, she did not take part in the NYSC scheme and went ahead to do both private and public jobs thereafter. She allegedly obtained the forged exemption certificate in 2009.