The 51-year-old, the first Minister to resign voluntarily from office over such allegation, was appointed in November 2015 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Willy Eya and Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Minister of Finance Mrs Kemi Adeosun has resigned her appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari following pressure from the public over her questionable National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge certificate. This is the first time a Federal Minister will quit office over an allegation.
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In a letter she addressed to President Buhari, she thanked him for the honour and privilege of serving under his inspirational leadership, saying it was a truly rewarding experience to learn from him and to observe at close quarters his integrity and sense of duty.
Part of her letter reads: “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. 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.
“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 thirty-four (34) were holidays, with visas obtained in my UK passport. I obtained my first Nigerian passport at the age of thirty-four (34) and when I relocated there was debate as to whether NYSC Law applied to me. Upon enquiry as to my status relating to NYSC, I was informed that due to my residency history and having exceeded the age of thirty (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, NYSC were approached for documentary proof of status. I then received the certificate in question. Having never worked in NYSC, visited the premises, been privy to nor 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 Directorate of State Services (DSS) Clearance as well as to the National Assembly for screening. Be that as it may, as someone totally committed to a culture of probity and accountability I have decided to resign with effect from Friday, 14th September, 2018.
“Let me conclude by commending your patience and support, during the long search for the truth in this matter. I thank you again for giving me the honour of serving under your leadership, it is a rare privilege, which I do not take for granted. As a Nigerian and committed progressive, I appreciate you for your dogged commitment to improving this nation.”
— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) September 14, 2018
“I [thank] you profusely for the honour & privilege of serving under your inspirational leadership. It‘s been a truly rewarding experience to learn from you & to observe at close quarters your integrity & sense of duty.” Full Text of my Resignation Letter: https://t.co/jRjy6DprVi
— Kemi Adeosun (@HMKemiAdeosun) September 14, 2018
Meanwhile, President Buhari yesterday accepted the resignation and thanked the embattled Minister for her services to the nation and wished her well in her future pursuits.
The President also approved that the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, should oversee the Ministry of Finance with immediate effect.
The 51-year-old, the first minister to resign voluntarily from office over such allegation, was appointed in November 2015 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Kemi was born in 1967 in London, England to Nigerian parents from Ogun State.
She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of East London and a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Financial Management from the University of London.
She qualified as a Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 1994 and she was qualified for NYSC exemption on return to Nigeria after clocking above 30 years of age.
Information in the public domain was that she was above 30 when she returned to Nigeria but was not qualified to obtain an exemption as is the rule because she got her first degree in her 20s.
For weeks, she had come under intense pressure from the public who have been demanding for her resignation and even trial.
She however ignored the pressure while her handlers explained that she was not guilty and painted those digging into the story as mischief-makers on a mission to pull down a woman of substance.
The NYSC headquarters also came up with a terse statement that she indeed applied for an exemption but that it was looking into the matter.
Mr. Francis Obalim, a lawyer had approached a Federal High Court in Abuja for an order quashing and setting aside Mrs. Adeosun’s appointment as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The court had fixed October 8 to hear the suit asking it to sack her from office.
The Chief Judge of the high court, Justice Abdul Abdu-Kafarati, assigned the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/712/2018, to Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu for expeditious hearing.
Reacting to the news of her resignation, Chairman, Kaduna State chapter of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Suleiman Shaibu, said that it was long overdue.
Shaibu said, “Even though I am just hearing from you that she has resigned, it is long overdue in view of the NYSC certificate saga because she was serving under a government that is fighting corruption day and night”.
On whether she should refund the salaries she had collected in the last three years, the NBA chair said, “She is supposed to do that, and if she does not do so, it means she has to face the full wrath of the law for benefitting from a system through falsification of document over these years.
“If she is punished according to the law, it will serve as deterrent to others who may have similar intention”.
Also speaking, a Kaduna-based lawyer and President, Igbo Community Welfare Association (ICWA), Chris Nnoli, said that she must be made to refund all salaries and allowances she had collected in the past three years.
He said this is because the NYSC certificate forgery was a criminal offence, as such she must face the wrath of the law to pave way for the development of the nation’s democracy.
“If it is true that she has resigned, my take on that is it’s a good development for our democracy but all the same it does not vitiate the criminality in the matter as she must submit to the rule of law and would also need to forfeit all salaries and allowances received.”
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