NYSC Replies Minister Adebayo Shittu: "You Have No Excuse"

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has dismissed the claim by the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, that taking political office when he was 25 years old had compensated for his deliberate refusal to take part in the compulsory national service.

The spokesperson of the NYSC, Adenike Adeyemi, said
the minister’s juxtaposition of holding an elective office and undergoing the obligatory national service is an error.

Since Premium Times busted his cover as an NYSC dodger, on Thursday, Mr Shittu has been advancing the argument that his election into the Oyo State House of Assembly immediately after his studies substitutes the mandatory service.

Lawyers who spoke on the issue said Mr Shittu’s justification for skipping the scheme is flawed and ludicrous.

Mrs Adeyemi concurred with the explanation of the lawyers who spoke to Premium Times on the unmistakable cases of exemption allowed by the law in Section 2 of the NYSC Act.

The referenced section exempted only four categories of Nigerians from the national service.

Those exempted are those who graduated after their 30th birthday, those who have served in the military or the police for at least nine months and staff of intelligence agencies. The last set of those eligible for exemption are persons who have obtained a national honour.

Speaking to Tribune newspaper, the NYSC spokesperson said the provisions of the Act are very clear, and there are no exceptions for any person like Mr Shittu who became a lawmaker at the age of 26.
She said “Serving in the National (or state) Assembly is not one of them (conditions for exemption from national service)”.

“You have read the Act and you can see the circumstances where someone is exempted, you analyse it if he [Shittu] was exempted duly or there is a reason why he should have served. But the Act is very straightforward on the grounds for not coming up to serve."

Another lawyer, Abdul Mahmud, said Mr Shittu should be arrested immediately by the police and made to face the law. All positions he has held are illegal and he should return all monies he earned from those posts to government coffers."