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NYSC Controversy: Culture Minister, Hannatu has done nothing wrong  — Onoh

Hannatu, Onoh

NYSC Controversy: Culture Minister, Hannatu has done nothing wrong  — Onoh

Dr. Josef Onoh, a former spokesperson for President Bola Tinubu’s presidential campaign, defended Hannatu Musawa, Minister for Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy, saying that she had not broken any laws.

The minister has been under fire for becoming a serving minister before her National Youth Service Corps, or NYSC, program was completed.

Lawyers for human rights have expressed concern over Hannatu’s continued participation in the NYSC service year despite being appointed a minister.

However, Onoh said Hanatu had not broken any law by accepting to serve as a minister while in service year as alleged, disclosing that the constitution is clear on what the NYSC can do which he said was to remobilize her anytime in future if she chose not to serve now.

Onoh’s words: “Now that she is a minister under public scrutiny, it doesn’t matter if she wrote to the NYSC about her appointment or not. What the Scheme can do is to cancel her service year; and so whenever she finishes as a minister, she can come back for remobilization.

“She’s already appointed as a minister even though it’s presumed she is still serving and so the maximum the NYSC can do is not to issue her a certificate at the end of her service year. By accepting to be a minister, she has indirectly agreed to be remobilized at any time in the future.

“She did not tender any NYSC certificate and has not been faulted for not meeting the constitutional requirement of being a minister.

“In fact, it’s high time all political office holders simply stick to tendering the minimum requirements as stated in the Constitution to put an end to all these academic and certificate dramas that Nigerians have become obsessed with.

“Nigerians have placed glorification of certificates and bogus qualifications above service delivery, above competence, above advancement.

Majority of our foreign contractors don’t possess bogus qualification but make up same in experience and today they are in our country controlling our Ph.D holders who only speak good English but lack technical experience.

“So the hullaballoo of accusing our DSS of not conducting proper screen on her is also not a constitutional requirement either. Although the DSS will in some cases screen and issue security reports and advise on persons of interest; discreetly and professionally done.

“It’s at the discretion of the President to heed the advise or not. Hence we must still commend the DSS and all other security personnel in our country for their sacrifices and not attempt to malign their efforts trying to score cheap political goals. If any Nigerian feels their job is easy, don’t be a coward, be brave enough to enroll.

“The disgruntled opposition elements against Hannatu can go to court and not to come to the media, trying to score cheap political points on a non-issue.

“As for the NYSC, the only time Hanatu will have an issue with her is if at the end of the present service batch that she was enrolled into elapses and she shows up to claim a discharge certificate while she is a minister.

“If at the end of her appointment as a minister and she has no other calling, she can reapply for remobilisation.”

 

No Law Bars Me From Being Minister While Serving As Corps Member, Says Hannatu

The Minister of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy Hannatu Musawa believes her appointment does not violate the country’s law contrary to claims in several quarters.

Hannatu was sworn in minister last Monday with many Nigerians faulting her appointment since she is a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), a mandatory one-year programme for Nigerian graduates not more than 30 years.

But in a personal statement issued on Sunday, she argued that her appointment is not a contravention of the country’s laws.

I would like to state clearly that contrary to wrong insinuations and false assumptions in a section of the mainstream media and social media where false accusations have been made, there is no breach of any law or constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended regarding my current position as a Minister and status as serving corps member,” she maintained.

 

READ HER FULL STATEMENT BELOW:

The last couple of days have witnessed a barrage of media attacks and misinformation about me following my appointment and swearing-in as the Minister of Art, Culture, and Creative Economy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

I want to, again, thank President Tinubu for finding me worthy and for giving me the opportunity to serve the country I love as one of his Ministers.

It is true I am currently on the NYSC national service which I began 8 months ago as a matter of duty and devotion to my country, having been unable to complete the scheme since I was first mobilised in 2001. I started the mandatory national service as a Corp member deployed to Akwa-Ibom State (pls confirm state) in 2001 upon the completion of my university education. I could not complete the service the same year after my redeployment to Kaduna State due to family obligations. Despite this, it has been my personal resolve and commitment that I will always fulfill this national duty whenever I am opportune to do so.

I applied to NYSC to be mobilised again for national service last year. NYSC graciously mobilised and deployed me to serve in Abuja where I have been serving for the last 8 months before my current appointment as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

I would like to state clearly that contrary to wrong insinuations and false assumptions in a section of the mainstream media and social media where false accusations have been made, there is no breach of any law or constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended regarding my current position as a Minister and status as serving corps member.

It must be said that there is no law of Nigeria or any part of our constitution and NYSC Act that states that a serving corps member can not be appointed by the President of Nigeria or any other appointing authority into political positions. Equally, no part of our existing laws and the NYSC Act says that a corp member must finish service before he/she can be appointed into political office. There are no legal or constitutional limitations whatsoever. I have not broken any law of Nigeria.

In fact, in a decided case before a Federal High Court Abuja in 2021, Justice Taiwo Taiwo ruled that the Constitution of Nigeria, which is the grundnorm, does not require anyone to even present a first-degree certificate or any other certificate, including the NYSC certificate to be appointed a Minister in Nigeria.

I decided to participate in the current NYSC programme in fulfillment of my own personal commitment and out of a sense of duty which I am proud of.

I will continue to serve my country using every opportunity and platform. My current NYSC status which will end in another 4 months will not in any way impede the discharge of my duties as Minister of Art, Culture, and Creative Economy, which, on its own, is a higher call to national service.

I use this medium to publicly restate my loyalty and rededicate myself to the service of Nigeria. I will continue to serve faithfully and with all my energy to deliver on the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Tinubu for a better, greater, and more prosperous Nigeria.

Hannatu Musawa

Minister of Art, Culture & Creative Economy

August 27, 2023

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