A Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, ruled that former Minister of Finance Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, was ineligible for the mandatory one-year national service.
It held that she was not obliged to present herself for the National Youth Service (NYSC) mobilisation under the prevailing 1979 Constitution, as she was not a Nigerian citizen either at the time of her graduation or when she turned 30 years.
According to the ruling, the constitution does not require her to present a first degree certificate or any other document, including discharge or exemption, for political appointment.
The court, presided over by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, ruled that her ministerial appointment was not illegal, neither was it unconstitutional, even without presenting the NYSC certificate.
In its ruling on a suit for constitutional interpretation filed in March 2021 by the firm of Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), on behalf of Adeosun, the court said since the 1979 Constitution, which was in force at the time did not recognise dual citizenship, Adeosun could not have served because she was a British citizen.
The plaintiff graduated from the University of East London in 1989 at the age of 22.
The court held that Nigeria’s citizenship only reverted under extant constitution by which time Adeosun was well above 30, and by the court ruling, barred from the NYSC scheme, as it was exclusively reserved for Nigeria.
Consequently, the court granted all reliefs sought by Adeosun’s counsel.
Responding to the ruling, the claimant’s lawyer noted: “Today’s (yesterday) ruling vindicates my client. The court has made it clear that at the time she presented for public service starting from 2011 up till 2015, she was not required to perform the NYSC under the 1979 Constitution, since my graduate graduated in 1989.
“Throughout (my) client’s travail which lasted 69 days, she was never in doubt about her innocence.
“(My) client chose to resign on September 14, 2018 because she did not want the case to become a distraction to the government and the public. She also believed it would give her the opportunity to vigorously pursue a constitutional remedy to the end, so as to clear her name.”
In her reaction, the ex-minister stated: “The ruling vindicates me after a very traumatic spell. It is, however, not only a personal victory. It’s also a victory for many Nigerians in the Diaspora under similar condition, who are desirous to serve their country.”