The National Youth Service Corps has reacted to the claim by the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, that he took political office to compensate his failure for engaging in NYSC.
TORI News had reported on Friday that an investigative report
by PREMIUM TIMES, revealed that the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, did not partake in the National Youth Service Corps scheme, and the minister said he took political office to compensate his deliberate refusal to take part in the compulsory national service.
While speaking to Tribune newspaper, the National Youth Service Corps dismissed the Minister's excuse for refusing to serve his fatherland. The NYSC spokesperson, Adenike Adeyemi, said the minister’s juxtaposition of holding an elective office and undergoing the obligatory national service is an error.
Se said the provisions of the Act are very clear, and there are no exceptions for any person like 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.
“If you are a graduate locally trained or foreign trained, as long as you graduate before the age of 30, you are expected to serve. Whether foreign or locally trained, the law is the same. Our youths should be rightly guided that if you were able to complete your studies and as of the date of graduation, you are under 30, you are eligible to serve,” the NYSC spokesperson said.
Mrs Adeyemi insisted that the NYSC law gives no preferential treatment to Nigerians other than those exempted by Section 2 of the Act, emphasising that
“The NYSC was set up to mobilise all eligible Nigerian youths. The Act does not talk about VIPs or children of VIPs. Anyone who is a Nigerian youth, who has a first degree and under the age of 30 must serve, the issue of VIPs or their children does not apply.
“However, if there is any reason why a corps member needs a concession, the corps member applies and concession is given, for example, for marital reasons and on health grounds. Everyone is treated the same and where concessions are to be given, it is treated. So, VIPs or children of VIPs do not come into the Act and we do not look at that,” she said.