The saga that saw a former minister being hunted leading to her throwing in the towel in what many had described as negligence on the face of the law has had another minister under same administration fall into the same trap, but this time, is having something to do with skipping the National Youth Service Corps, Premium times (www.premiumtimes.com) had revealed Authoritatively
The report this time indicates that the communication minister, Mr Adebayo Shittu had failed to participate in the (NYSC) scheme despite graduating from the then University of Ife Now (Obafemi Awolowo University) at age 25.
‘’ The Revelation about Mr. Shittu, who is currently angling to become Oyo state governor is coming to light about a week after Kemi Adeosun was compelled to step down from her post as Nigeria’s finance Minister after its medium reported that she skipped national service and then procured a fake exemption certificate to cover her tracks’’.
The report also indicates that the online medium, premium times (www.premiumtime.com) also did a discrete check at the NYSC Headquarters and it outcome shows that the communication minister did not present himself for service after graduation and that minister was yet to do so till date’’.
The response of Minister Shittu
Premium times indicates that in response, Mr Shittu admitted that he did not serve but claimed he thought his first political post after graduation could suffice as national service, a claim lawyers and NYSC insiders consider as ludicrous and untenable.
Skipping the compulsory national service is an offence under the NYSC law, punishable with up to 12 months imprisonment.
Employers are mandated by law to always request NYSC certificate of national service from employees as part of the conditions for hiring.
Mr Shittu, born on March 23, 1953, studied law at Ife, graduating in 1978. He proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, qualifying as a lawyer in 1979.
Having earned a bachelor’s degree at the age of 25, Section 2 of the NYSC Act expects Mr Shittu to have participated in the year-long national service.
Section 2 (1) of the NYSC Act mandates all Nigerians who earn degrees or higher national diplomas from tertiary institutions in Nigerian and abroad (effective 1972/73 session) to participate in the scheme.
Those exempted by the law are those who graduated after their 30th birthday, persons with national honours and individuals who serve in the military and intelligence organizations.
Rather than enlist in the national service, Mr Shittu went into politics after graduation, and was, in 1979, elected member of the Oyo State House of Assembly.
‘The minister said he believed that having been elected lawmaker, he needed not participate in the national service’’.
‘He said he deliberatively skipped the NYSC scheme because he was convinced that his membership of the state assembly was itself a “service”.
“The constitution provides for the qualification needed for state assembly members, NYSC is not there,” Mr Shittu said. “I didn’t need it to become a member of the state assembly, and that is already a service,” he said.
“Mr Shittu disagreed with our reporter who laboured to explain to him that the NYSC Act makes participation in the scheme mandatory for all graduates like him and that election or appointment to political office does not qualify as a basis for exemption”.