Musawa Urged to Suspend Ministerial Responsibilities and Complete NYSC

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By  Milcah  Tanimu

The Director of Press and Public Relations at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Eddy Megwa, has called for Hannatu Musawa, a government minister, to defer her ministerial duties and complete her compulsory national service. This marks the second time Musawa has been mobilized for national youth service, having absconded during her first attempt. She is currently eight months into her second national service period.

Musawa’s initial mobilization for the NYSC was in 2001 when she was posted to Ebonyi State for her orientation program. However, she later relocated to Kaduna State and failed to complete the service, leading to her absconding from the program.

The Nigerian Senate’s approval of Musawa as a ministerial nominee raised concerns regarding the lack of diligence by the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Senate. In 2020, her nomination as a commissioner on the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) was rejected due to her failure to provide evidence of participation or exemption from the NYSC scheme. Despite this rejection in the 9th assembly, she was subsequently confirmed by the 10th Senate without addressing these concerns.

Participation in the year-long national service provided by the NYSC is mandatory for Nigerian graduates under the age of 30. It is a statutory requirement for government and private sector employment in the country. The NYSC Act prescribes penalties, including imprisonment and fines, for those who fail to participate, abscond from service, or forge NYSC discharge certificates.

Eddy Megwa, speaking on behalf of the NYSC, emphasized that Musawa’s appointment as a minister violates the NYSC Act, as no corps member is allowed to accept a government appointment until completing the one-year service. Legal expert Femi Falana (SAN) also argued that it is unlawful for someone still serving in the NYSC to accept a ministerial appointment.

The Supreme Court’s judgment in Modibbo v. Usman underscored that it is inappropriate for a serving corps member to combine national service with full-time activities such as being a member of the House of Representatives. The ruling confirmed that the NYSC scheme cannot be combined with other employment.

The handling of this issue has implications for the perception of the NYSC and the consistent application of the law. Actions should be taken to preserve the integrity of the program, including Musawa temporarily suspending her ministerial duties and completing her national youth service. An apology to Nigerians for accepting a ministerial appointment as a serving corps member is also requested from Musawa.

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