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I didn’t know NYSC exemption certificate issued to me was fake – Kemi Adeosun

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FORMER Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun has said she didn’t know that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate she submitted as part of her credentials to serve in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was fake.

The minister resigned in 2018 following the uproar that followed an investigation into allegations that she forged the certificate.

Reacting to the scandal almost four years after her resignation, the former minister said the forgery allegation caught her by surprise.

Adeosub, who spoke at an event in the United Kingdom (UK) on Sunday, said she was born and raised in the UK, but got her Nigerian passport at the age of 34.

She noted that upon her arrival in Nigeria, she was made to understand that there was no way she could still participate in the NYSC scheme having exceeded the statutory age for being enlisted.

“I obtained my first Nigerian passport at the age of 34 and when I relocated, there was debate as to whether the NYSC law applied to me. Upon enquiry as to my status relating to the NYSC, I was informed that due to my residency history and having exceeded the age of 30, I was exempted from the requirement to serve. Until recent events, that remained my understanding,” she said.

“On the basis of that advice and with the guidance and assistance of those I thought were trusted associates, the NYSC was approached for documentary proof of status. I then received the certificate in question. Having never worked in the NYSC, visited the premises, been privy to or familiar with their operations, I had no reason to suspect that the certificate was anything but genuine.

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“Indeed, I presented that certificate at the 2011 Ogun State House of Assembly and in 2015 for the Department of State Services clearance as well as to the National Assembly for screening. I sought legal advice and there was no problem I could get an exemption for the NYSC.”

Speaking on the trauma she had to pass through because of the incident, the British-Nigerian citizen said she wept daily for three months.

She said everything about her life was at a standstill while she had to deal with shame, betrayal, disappointment and humiliation.

“I was so ashamed at that time because I was into teenagers’ mentoring and all of that. So, the experience negated the lessons I had taught my teenagers. I cried every day for three months; I didn’t do anything for anyone or myself for those months. I just cried, cried, and cried,” she said.

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