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Lawyer Petitions NYSC Over Ministerial Nominee Discharge Certificate



A Human Rights Mr. Festus Ogun has petitioned the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) for a probe into the alleged forgery of the NYSC certificate of the Ministerial nominee from Ondo State, Mr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo.

In a letter by Ogun’s representative to the Director General of the NYSC by FOLEGAL legal practitioner and consultant and signed by its Associate Counsel, Barr. Damilola Adesanya Esq dated Aug. 7, 2023, and made available to reporters yesterday based on its request on the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.

The human rights activist requested that a probe be caused into the matter of certificate forgery against the lawmaker and be furnished with all the information relating to Mr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo’s Application to the Corps.

The letter said the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in fulfillment of Nigeria’s Constitution had nominated and forwarded the name of Tunji-Ojo to the Senate as Minister-designate respectively.

According to the letter, in fulfillment of the constitutional requirements for qualification as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr. Olubunmi Tunji- Ojo presented questionable academic credentials and certificates (including an NYSC discharge certificate) to the National Assembly.

It read “In his Curriculum Vitae (CV) submitted to the Senate, Mr. Olubunmi Tunji- Ojo stated that he was born on the 1st of May, 1982. Further, he claimed to have graduated from the London Metropolitan University, London, United Kingdom between 2003 and 2005.

“Curiously, about two decades after he purportedly graduated and at the age of 37, he purportedly enrolled for the compulsory. National Youths Service Corps (NYSC); at about the same time he was a Federal Lawmaker representing the people of Akoko North East/ Akoko Northwest federal Constituency of Ondo State at the National Assembly.

“Under Sections 2(1) and 13(1) of the NYSC Act, 1993, every Nigerian under the age of 30 who completes his or her undergraduate degree shall report for compulsory Youth Service.

“Mr. Olubunmi Tunji- Ojo breached this law with reckless abandon. The failure of Mr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo to report for service till about two decades after graduation is an offense punishable by not less than twelve months imprisonment.

“Secondly, by the clear provisions of Section 2(2)(a) of the NYSC Act, upon clocking the age of 30, Mr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo was no longer eligible to participate in NYSC. Despite his patent ineligibility to participate, in 2019 and, at the age of 37, Mr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo claimed that he participated in service.

“This is questionable. The NYSC Act and indeed the NYSC cannot allow a 37-year-old man to participate in the youth corps.

“Additionally, in 2019, Mr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo was a Federal Lawmaker who was very active in the activities of the House of Representatives.

“The probing question is: Was he at the NYSC Camp for three weeks? If yes, where did he participate in the compulsory camping? Where was his Place of Primary Assignment? Was he participating in the scheme and contemporaneously representing his people as a Federal Lawmaker?

“Even if his spurious claims are anything to go by, they are a violation of Section 13(2)(a) of the NYSC Act which provides that “any person who under the provisions of this Act is not eligible to participate in the service corps so participates or attempts to so participate is guilty of an offence” which is punishable by not less than two years imprisonment.

“In his case, the purported “Certificate of National Service” was suspiciously post-dated to 2023, over two years after he purportedly concluded the service.

“Instructively, only exemption certificates are issued to those above the age of 30. A graduate above the age of 30 like Mr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo is not eligible to be issued a Certificate of Service.

“Our client, like every other well-meaning Nigerian with good conscience, has strong reasons to believe that the purported “Certificate of Service” is forged or doctored.”

The letter said it had absolute trust and unflagging confidence in the competence and impervious integrity of the Corps to ensure that the matter was thoroughly investigated and probed.

It added that it equally had confidence that the FOI request would be treated urgently in line with the seven days rule stipulated under section 4 of the Act,2011

“We are equally confident that this FOI request will be treated urgently in line with the 7 days rule stipulated under Section 4 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.”