Freedom of Information request to Brigadier-General Sule Kazaure,
Director-General of the NYSC, asking him to “use his good offices and
leadership position to urgently provide information on specific details
and documents on the Exemption Certificate granted to the Minister of
Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun”.
SERAP also asked General Kazaure to,
“provide information and documents on whether Mrs
Adeosun applied for NYSC Exemption Certificate, and if she did, to
clarify whether the NYSC actually granted her the Exemption Certificate,
the circumstances and the provisions of the NYSC Act under which the
Exemption Certificate was granted”.
The organization said it “needs the information to determine if
the crime of forgery has been committed, and if so, to consider possible
action in the circumstances, including but not limited to asking the
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar
Malami (SAN), to pursue prosecution or in the absence of that, for us to
consider the option of a private prosecution”.
In the FOI
request dated August 2, 2018 and signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director,
Timothy Adewale, the organization said: “By providing information and
documents on the Exemption Certificate, the NYSC would help put an end
to any insinuation of complicity and show that the institution can
embrace transparency and accountability in the discharge of its
statutory mandates. This would in turn contribute to improved integrity
and public image of the NYSC.”
According to the organization,
Adeosun remains innocent until the allegations against her are properly
tested and proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of competent
jurisdiction based on relevant admissible evidence, but the continuing
silence by the NYSC management on the matter may create an impression
that an offence may have been committed, and lead to accusation that the
management has something to hide.
“We urge you and the entire
NYSC management and leadership to open up on the matter and provide
information and documents as requested. This will be one step in the
right direction. If the information is not provided to us within 7 days
of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, the Registered
Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions under the
Freedom of Information Act to compel you to comply with our request,”
the letter reads.
“SERAP is concerned about the perceived lack of
transparency and accountability of the NYSC management and leadership
in this matter, which has seriously undermined public trust and
confidence in the NYSC as a public institution established to serve the
“SERAP notes that following allegations of
NYSC Exemption Certificate forgery against Mrs Adeosun, the NYSC
management issued a statement confirming that she did apply for an
Exemption Certificate and promising to ‘investigate the origin of the
purported Exemption Certificate in question’.
“However, we are
concerned that the statement lacks specificity as to whether Mrs Adeosun
was issued the Exemption Certificate. Further, although the statement
was issued on 9 July 2018, the NYSC management has so far failed and/or
neglected to publish the outcome of the investigation it promised.
Nigerians are also entitled to the right to truth derived from the
obligations of the government and its institutions to carry out an
investigation into allegations of issues like forgery that have been
levelled against Mrs Adeosun.
“By Section 1 (1) of the Freedom
of Information (FOI) Act 2011, SERAP is entitled as of right to request
for or gain access to information, including information on the
circumstances and the provisions of the NYSC Act under which any NYSC
Exemption Certificate was granted to Mrs Adeosun.
“By Section 4
(a) of the FOI Act when a person makes a request for information from a
public official, institution or agency, the public official, institution
or urgency to whom the application is directed is under a binding legal
obligation to provide the applicant with the information requested for,
except as otherwise provided by the Act, within 7 days after the
application is received.
“By Sections 2(3)(d)(V) & (4) of
the FOI Act, there is a binding legal duty to ensure that documents
containing information relating to the granting of any NYSC Exemption
Certificate are widely disseminated and made readily available to
members of the public through various means.
being requested does not come within the purview of the types of
information exempted from disclosure by the provisions of the FOI Act.
The information requested for bothers on an issue of national interest,
public concern, good governance, transparency and accountability.”