The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent a Freedom of Information request to Sule Kazaure, Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) asking him to “urgently provide information on specific details and documents on the Exemption Certificate granted to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun”.
The organisation also asked Mr 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 Exemption Certificate, the circumstances and the provisions of the NYSC Act under which the Exemption Certificate was granted”.
The organisation said it “needs the information to determine if the crime of forgery has been committed, and if so, to consider possible action in the circumstances, including but not limited to asking the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami SAN to pursue prosecution or in the absence of that, for us to consider the option of a private prosecution”.
Its statement signed by Timothy Adewale, deputy director and released on Thursday reads in part:
“In the FOI request dated 2 August 2018 and signed by SERAP deputy director Timothy Adewale, the organization said, “By providing information and documents on the Exemption Certificate, the NYSC would help put an end to any insinuation of complicity and show that the institution can embrace transparency and accountability in the discharge of its statutory mandates. This would in turn contribute to improved integrity and public image of the NYSC.”
“According to the organisation, “Mrs Adeosun remains innocent until the allegations against her are properly tested and proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of competent jurisdiction based on relevant admissible evidence. But the continuing silence by the NYSC management on the matter may create an impression that an offence may have been committed, and lead to accusation that the management has something to hide.”
“The letter read in part: “We urge you and the entire NYSC management and leadership to open-up on the matter and provide information and documents as requested. This will be one step in the right direction. If the information is not provided to us within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information Act to compel you to comply with our request.”
“SERAP is concerned about the perceived lack of transparency and accountability of the NYSC management and leadership in this matter, which has seriously undermined public trust and confidence in the NYSC as a public institution established to serve the public interests.”
“SERAP notes that following allegations of NYSC Exemption Certificate forgery against Mrs Adeosun, the NYSC management issued a statement confirming that she did apply for an Exemption Certificate and promising to ‘investigate the origin of the purported Exemption Certificate in question.’”
“However, we are concerned that the statement lacks specificity as to whether Mrs Adeosun was issued the Exemption Certificate. Further, although the statement was issued on 9 July 2018, the NYSC management has so far failed and/or neglected to publish the outcome of the investigation it 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.”