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Promoting Good Governance.

There’s a process ongoing, give it time… Garba Shehu on Adeosun’s forgery scandal

SPECIAL Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, says investigations are ongoing into allegations of certificate forgery against the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun.

Shehu said this on Monday while appearing as a guest on Kakaaki, a breakfast programme of African Independent Television (AIT), 65 days after the allegation was first made by Premium Times in early July.

“The minister of information has spoken on the matter. And a process is ongoing to address the allegations,” Shehu said.

“When that process is complete, Nigerians will know the outcome. Some people want a particular outcome and because they are yet to see this outcome, they are not happy.

“Give it (investigation) time. There is a process ongoing. It’s an allegation. If it is proven, you will see what will happen. The minister and the NYSC have spoken on the matter.”

On why the investigation appears to be taking too long, Shehu said it was not his job to determine how long the investigation takes.

“I don’t have the full facts of the matter, so why the investigation is not out, I don’t know. I hope there will be an early outcome. “Don’t forget, these people whose names are being dragged in the mud have families and relatives. We hope their innocence will be established.”

Adeosun was accused of parading a fake National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate, having failed to participate in the one-year national service that is mandatory for all Nigerians who graduated from the University before the age of 30.

The Finance Minister had her tertiary education in the United Kingdom and graduated at the age of 22.  She worked in the UK for some time before relocating to Nigeria. According to the NYSC Act she ought to have registered and be mobilised for the mandatory national service, but instead, she procured a fake NYSC exemption certificate, using same to get employment in several organisations in Nigeria.

Only Nigerians who graduated at or above the age of 30, or who belong to any of the country’s security agencies, are eligible for an exemption from national service. Also, non-participation in the NYSC programme automatically makes one ineligible to get employment in Nigeria either by in the government or private sector.

Authorities of the NYSC had said that Adeosun actually applied for an exemption certificate, but Adeyemi Adenike, who spoke on behalf of the corps, did not say when Adeosun made the application or whether it was granted.

Similarly, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, refused to comment on the matter, insisting that the government had already made a statement through the leadership of the NYSC.

However, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, Itse Sagay, a professor of law, said it does not matter whether Adeosun did her youth service or not. He insists that she is one of the best ministers in Buhari’s cabinet and therefore should not be removed from office.

While Adeosun’s forgery case remains uninvestigated and apparently abandoned, a civil servant, Lebi Ayodele-James, has been sentenced to years imprisonment for a similar offence.

Ayodele-James, a former staff of the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, was found guilty of forging an ICAN (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria) certificate which he presented as a requirement for promotion.

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