NYSC Certificate Scam: Almost three years after, Nigerian govt refuses to prosecute Kemi Adeosun

Mrs Adeosun has remained free despite strong evidence of certificate forgery against her.

ByAmeh Ejekwonyilo

Despite the uncontroverted evidence of certificate forgery uncovered against former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, nearly three years ago, the Nigerian government has refused to prosecute her or take any step to bring her to book.

A PREMIUM TIMES exclusive report had exposed in July 2018 how she procured a counterfeit National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate purportedly exempting her from participating in the exercise.

She sailed through Senate screening presenting the fraudulent document as part of her credentials for her to be appointed minister in 2015.

Following this newspaper’s report, President Muhammadu Buhari drafted a senior administration official to investigate the scandal.

Findings of the enquiry confirming the scam were the last straw that led to Mrs Adeosun’s ouster from office in September 2018.

Former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun (Photo Credit: Chronicle.ng)

In her resignation letter dated September 14, 2018, the British-born Mrs Adeosun admitted that the document was forged  but claimed she did not know it to be so until the PREMIUM TIMES  report.

“I have, today, become privy to the findings of the investigation into the allegation made in an online medium that the Certificate of Exemption from National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) that I had presented was not genuine,” she stated in her resignation letter made public by a presidential spokesperson.

She said she found the revelation shocking having presented the certificate for clearance by the State Security Service (SSS) and for senate screening as a prelude to her ministerial appointment in 2015.

She added that she similarly presented the certificate for her confirmation by the Ogun State House of Assembly, to be appointed the state’s Commissioner for Finance four years earlier in 2011.

“This has come as a shock to me and I believe that in line with this administration’s focus on integrity, I must do the honourable thing and resign,” she had said.

Many breaches ignored

But despite this self-confession by Mrs Adeosun and confirmation by the administration’s inquiry into the matter, the Buhari government has refused to prosecute her for the crime, a development which appears to bear witness to the regime’s perceived selective approach to prosecution of lawbreakers.

The year-long service, organised by the NYSC is compulsory for all Nigerians who graduate from universities or equivalent institutions at less than 30 years of age, the NYSC Act says.

The law in section 13 provides that eligible Nigerians who skip the service are liable to be sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and/or N2,000 fine.

Section 13 (3) of the law also prescribes three-year jail term or option of N5,000 fine for anyone who contravenes provision of the law as Mrs Adeosun has done.

Subsection 4 of the same section also criminalises giving false information or illegally obtaining the agency’s certificate. It provides for up to three-year jail term for such offenders.

Forgery or giving false information is also a criminal Act under the Criminal Act applicable in the southern states, and Penal Code in force in the northern states of the country.

ut instead of prosecuting her, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, recently gave the former minister a smooth ride to obtain a court judgment which trivialised her failure to participate in the NYSC scheme prior to her appointment.

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami. [PHOTO CREDIT: Official Twitter handle of Mr Malami || @MalamiSan]

The judgment delivered on Wednesday by Taiwo Taiwo, a judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, declared that Mrs Adeosun needed not to participate in the NYSC scheme to be appointed a minister or contest national or state assembly elections.

Although the judge did not review the forgery allegation against Mrs Adeosun, he cited Mr Malami’s concession to her claims in the suit as part of his reasons he arrived at his decision discarding the need to participate in the national youth service scheme to be appointed.


Mrs Adeosun graduated from the Polytechnic of East London in 1989, at the age of 22.

According to her curriculum vitae, she was born in March 1967.

The institution changed its name to the University of East London in 1992. Mrs Adeosun has her certificate issued in the new name.

PREMIUM TIMES had in an exclusive report exposed Mrs Adeosun’s failure to participate in what is generally accepted as the mandatory one-year national youth service scheme.

The report revealed how Mrs Adeosun procured a fake exemption certificate many years after graduation which she presented as a substitute for a passing-out certificate.

Her official credentials obtained by PREMIUM TIMES had shown that the minister paraded a purported NYSC exemption certificate, which she said was issued in September 2009, granting her exemption from the mandatory service on account of age.

Mrs Adeosun, who had earlier served as the Commissioner for Finance in her home Ogun State, was appointed as the Minister of Finance based on the fraudulent NYSC exemption certificate in November 2015.

Presidential enquiry

PREMIUM TIMES had exclusively reported how President Buhari, days after our expose on the forgery, drafted the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to investigate the matter and offer recommendations.

Multiple sources had informed this newspaper how the enquiry was conducted secretly with only a handful of officials in the know of its progress.

As reliably gathered by this newspaper, the SGF wrote to the NYSC via its supervising Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, demanding the scheme’s position on the scandal.

A few days later, the NYSC responded to Mr Mustapha, also through the ministry, telling the SGF in no uncertain terms that Mrs Adeosun’s exemption certificate was, indeed, forged as reported.

Mr Mustapha then prepared a report to the president, in which he confirmed that all elements of PREMIUM TIMES investigation were true and recommended that Mrs Adeosun was no longer fit as a cabinet minister.

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