The National Youth Service Corps has said it is investigating a “purported exemption certificate” which was allegedly obtained by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun. The NYSC Director of Press and Public Relations, Mrs Adeyemi Adenike, stated this on Monday, while reacting to media reports (not The PUNCH) that the finance minister allegedly forged an Exemption Certificate which was also cleared by the National Assembly during her screening. The NYSC’s spokesperson, Adeyemi, said in a statement that the scheme could confirm that the finance minster indeed applied for an Exemption Certificate.
Adeyemi said, “Our attention has been drawn to the issue of the alleged forgery of an NYSC Exemption Certificate by the Honorable Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun. Checking our records, Mrs Adeosun did apply for an Exemption Certificate. We shall investigate the origin of the purported Exemption Certificate in question. Thank you.” However, a civil society organization, the Center for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, has called on the finance minister, Adeosun, to respond to the allegations of certificate forgery levelled against her or resign from office.
CACOL, in a release on Monday by its Chairman, Mr Debo Adeniran, said the centre called on President Muhammadu Buhari to “immediately wade into this matter by suspending Mrs Kemi Adeosun from her position as the Minister of Finance in order to allow full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the forgery allegation.” Adeniran said, “What should not be encouraged, under any guise, is a reign of impunity as the country steers towards consolidation of its democratic culture. The minister was reported to have approved fictitious budget heads on several occasions. If this is found to be true, it is not only criminal, but a clear violation of fiscal discipline and accountability.
“The nation is presently facing a lot of challenges which require the present administration’s undivided attention, ranging from Fulani herdsmen-farmers’ crisis to banditry, social dislocation and economic crunch and cannot therefore afford to be bogged down by any distractions arising from the recklessness of any public official. “Our current situation as a nation demands that public officers serving the current government should be seen to be above board in implementing the administration’s Change Agenda. Public officers are also compulsorily required to demonstrate transparency, responsibility and accountability in steering the ship of state.
“It is in this regard that we call on the President to immediately wade into this matter by suspending Mrs Kemi Adeosun from her position as the Minister of Finance to allow full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the forgery allegation and misappropriation of funds under her Ministry. This is necessary to reinforce public confidence and send a clear signal that no criminal conduct would be tolerated by this government.” Attempts to get comments from the minister were not successful as calls and a text message sent to his Media Adviser, Oluyinka Akintunde, were not responded to as of 5.30pm when this report was being filed on Monday.
Adeosun had come under fire with several Nigerians, particularly on the social media, demanding investigations from the Federal Government into the allegations and calling for her resignation for presenting an alleged forged excemption certificate. The reports claimed that the finance minister, who did not participate in the one-year national youth service, allegedly forged an Exemption Certificate several years after her graduation. The certificate, which is dated September 2009, was reportedly signed by an NYSC Director-General, Yusuf Bomoi, who already left the scheme in January 2009.
In November 2015, Adeosun was appointed as Minister of Finance under President Muhammadu Buhari after she had been cleared by the Department of State Services and by the Senate. Both the security and legislature, which ought to have looked closely at ministerial appointees’ certificates, records and profiles, allegedly failed to detect any fault in the NYSC Exemption Certificate presented by Adeosun. As public outcry continues to greet the allegedly forged NYSC certificate by the finance minister, the NYSC said on Monday that it had begun its own investigations to unravel the source of the purported Exemption Certificate, said to have been obtained by the finance minister.