Kemi Adeosun, former finance minister, says she cried every day for three months following the certificate forgery allegation against her.
Adeosun resigned in 2018 after the allegation that she tendered a forged NYSC exemption certificate as part of her credentials.
A federal high court in Abuja, however, declared that Adeosun cannot be subjected to any penalty over her non-participation in the NYSC scheme.
Speaking at the 10th anniversary of the uncommon woman conference organised by Jesus House Church, UK, the former minister said even after the court’s declaration, she needed to undergo therapy to feel better.
“I was born and raised in the United Kingdom; indeed, my parental family home remains in London. My visits to Nigeria up until the age of 34 were holidays, with visas obtained in my UK passport. When I finished school, there was no opportunity for dual citizenship; I either renounce my British citizenship or hold on to it and work here. I didn’t renounce mine. I finished school at 21 and started working at 22,” the Punch quoted her as saying.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“I thought I would feel better when I got vindicated by the court but I still wasn’t happy. The court cleared my name three years later but it took another time of counselling and therapy before I felt better.
“It was thereafter I forged ahead with life and started my charity work.”