Okwe Obi, Abuja, with agency report
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun to “without further delay, show responsibility and clear the air over the damaging certificate forgery allegations against her and settle the facts of the case once and for all.”
The organisation also said that “suspicions of certificate forgery involving a senior member of the government, if not urgently and satisfactorily addressed, would weaken public trust in the government’s oft-expressed commitment to transparency and accountability.”
Several days after being accused of forging her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate, the minister is yet to make any official statement in reaction to the alleged scandal.
In a statement by SERAP’s Deputy Director, yesterday, Timothy Adewale the organisation reiterated that “clarifying the allegations of certificate forgery would show a commitment to doing the right thing, and a natural disposition toward openness. The continuing failure and/or refusal to speak to Nigerians on these allegations amounts to a betrayal of public trust.
“If she can show the courage to clear the air on the allegations, Mrs Adeosun can be a strong promoter of the values of transparency and accountability, something which the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has regularly expressed commitment to embrace and achieve.”
Meanwhile, Coalition of Civil Society Groups (CCSG), has called on Nigerians to stop the campaign against Adeosun.
CCSGC Chairman, Mallam Abubakar Usman, while signing communiqués, in Lagos, yesterday, in company with seven other groups, stated that there was no caveat on the age and time to request for exemption letter if one is above the youth service year of 30.
“This group notes that, the purpose of the youth service scheme is primarily to inculcate in Nigerian youths, the spirit of selfless service to the community and to emphasise the spirit of oneness and brotherhood of all Nigerians, irrespective of cultural or social background.
“Secondly, foreign graduates are not mobilised from the school of study directly but by the application of interested graduate. On the time to approve and exempt any person is not bound by time if the circumstances surrounding the exemption are considered cogent by the Directorate,” CCSGC said.
Usman maintained that it would be out of place to condemn the minister’s sincere gesture to secure what was due to her as at the time she applied for it and that she is also not guilty to have stayed back after her studies as long as the reasons for that action are reasonable and justifiable.
“It is on this ground that we make bold to say that the hullaballoo was in bad faith and to cause distraction at this period…”