Just as the dust on the certificate scandal surrounding immediate past Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun is beginning to settle another serving minister has been caught in the act.
The serving minister in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet has been found to have skipped the mandatory national youth service scheme, an offence that may see him lose his position and earn him jail term.
The Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, failed to participate in the NYSC scheme despite graduating from the then University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) at age 25.
Findings by Premium Times revealed that Shittu who is aspiring to become Oyo State governor never participated in NYSC.
Months of discreet checks at the NYSC headquarters showed that the communications minister did not present himself for service after graduation and is yet to do so till date.
Contacted Tuesday, 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 bachelors degree at the age of 25, Section 2 of the NYSC Act expects Mr Shittu to have participated in the year-long national 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.
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.