The National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) has disowned the purported exemption certificate in possession of the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun.
The NYSC was reacting to the exclusive story published by PREMIUM TIMES at on Saturday detailing how Mrs Adeosun skipped the mandatory national service and forged an exemption certificate of the service to cover for it.
The story has generated outrage from Nigerians who asked the minister to resign from her post or be fired by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Details published by this newspaper on Monday show that the certificate is among the set of documents submitted by the minister for her appointment and screening in 2015.
A statement by the NYSC's director of public relations, Adenike Adeyemi, emailed to PREMIUM TIMES said the service will "investigate the origin of the purported Exemption Certificate in question".
The statement, however, said Mrs Adeosun had applied for exemption. It was, however, silent on when the application was made and what decision was taken on the application.
This newspaper first wrote to the NYSC on April 16, 2018 requesting verification of the certificate.
After weeks of silence and promises, the paper's editors decided to re-channel the request through a Freedom of Information request.
This followed disappointment suffered by journalists working on the story when the formal letter that was to be issued on June 1 by the organisation was suddenly withheld.
Our reporter who was at the NYSC headquarters on Thursday, May 31, was told to come back the next day to pick up the organisation's response to our letter, following intense checks that afternoon that confirmed that "Folakemi Adeosun" was not in the register.
However, on arriving on Friday, June 1 to pick the response, a new decision was announced: the NYSC officials said the verification has been channelled to the organisation's ICT unit to check its "electronic database."
The organisation then became curiously non-response to our request.
Before the corps went cold on it, PREMIUM TIMES had made a payment of N2,000 through federal government's Remita platform.
The Remita receipt was later swapped with an official receipt of the NYSC at the organisation's account department. The receipt is numbered 711133.
Frustrated by the sudden back-tracking by the agency, this newspaper, on June 8, delivered a Freedom of Information request to the NYSC headquarters which is yet to be responded to.
The FoI Act mandates agencies to respond to requests within one week or write to seek extension if unable to comply within the stipulated time.
The full text of the NYSC's statement is produced below:
RE-EXEMPTION CERTIFICATE OF THE HON. MINISTER OF FINANCE, MRS. KEMI ADEOSUN
Our attention has been drawn to the issue of the alleged forgery of an NYSC Exemption Certificate by the Honorable Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.
Checking our records, Mrs. Adeosun did apply for an Exemption Certificate.
We shall investigate the origin of the purported Exemption Certificate in question.
Adeyemi Adenike (Mrs.)
Director, Press and Public Relations