ANTI-corruption group Say No Campaign has indicated that it believes the recent court ruling clearing former finance minister Kemi Adeosun of any wrongdoing with regards to her national service will encourage more diasporans to return home.
Earlier this month, Ms Adeosun was cleared of any wrongdoing over her National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC) dispute after an Abuja high court ruled that she did not require a discharge certificate to take up her ministerial appointment. In August 2018, national daily Premium Times, revealed that Ms Adeosun, an economist and chartered accountant, forged an NYSC exemption certificate to enable her serve in government.
According to the report, Ms Adeosun’s certificate was dated September 9, 2009 and was signed by Yusuf Bomoi, a former NYSC director-general who passed away in September 2017 but he had stepped down eight months earlier in January 2009, so could not have signed it. Ms Adeosun said she did not know that the exemption certificate was forged, pointing out that she got the it through a third party and was unaware of the fact that it was not genuine but then resigned and returned to the UK where she grew up.
On July 7, a Federal High Court in Abuja ruled that Ms Adeosun did not need the NYSC discharge certificate to take up any ministerial appointment or before standing for any elective office in the country. According to the court, Ms Adeosun who graduated from a London University in 1989 was already 36 years of age, so therefore was exempted from participating in the NYSC scheme.
Lauding the judgement, Ezenwa Nwagwu, the Say No Campaign leader, said it is now clear that the former minister was a victim of the system run in Nigeria as a country. He noted that Ms Adeosun has maintained her innocence from the onset but some people were bent on seeing her removed as minister for some sinister reasons.
Mr Nwagwu said: “The court through this judgement has affirmed Adeosun’s assertion that she was not required to perform NYSC and this has been her position throughout the matter. This will attract many with skills from the diaspora who want to settle or work for the development of Nigeria.
“It means Nigeria can tap into her extensive resource bank, especially in the much needed medical and social fields who were born and brought up in the diaspora who had been deterred by the prospect of undertaking NYSC in their thirties, forties and even fifties.”
He added that with this judgement, it was clear that it was far from the truth that Ms Adeosun forged an exemption certificate and knew the certificate was fake. Describing Ms Adeosun as a trailblazer, he said she has opened the doors for Nigerians in diaspora who had been deterred by the belief that they must undergo the NYSC service, to come home and contribute to the growth of the country.
Last month, Ms Adeosun, returned to public attention with the launch of her DashMe Foundation in Abuja. Its launch was attended and chaired by vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo and according to Ms Adeosun, her social enterprise was created to transform the lives of orphans and vulnerable children, disadvantage youths and victims of domestic violence.