The Minister of Art, Culture, and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, has defended herself against the allegations that she violated the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Act by accepting a ministerial appointment while still serving as a corps member.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Musawa explained that she enrolled for the NYSC scheme in 2001 after graduating from the university, but could not complete it due to family reasons. She said that she was initially deployed to Akwa-Ibom State (please confirm state) for the orientation programme, but later relocated to Kaduna State to continue the service. However, she had to abandon the service midway because of her family obligations.
She said that she reapplied for the NYSC scheme last year and was remobilised and deployed to Abuja, where she had been serving for the past eight months before her appointment as a minister by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
She stated that no law or constitutional provision barred a serving corps member from being appointed by the president or any other authority into a political position. She also said that there was no requirement that a corps member must finish the service before taking up a political office. She said that she had not breached any law or constitution of Nigeria by being a minister and a corps member at the same time.
She said that she decided to participate in the NYSC scheme out of her personal resolve and commitment to serve her country. She said that she was proud of her decision and would continue to serve her country in any capacity.
She thanked President Tinubu for finding her worthy and giving her the opportunity to serve as a minister. She also appealed to Nigerians to support her and the president in their efforts to transform the art, culture and creative economy sector of the country.
“The last couple of days have witnessed 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 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 in the last 8 months before my current appointment as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I will 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 Corp member.
“It must be said that there is no law of Nigeria or any part of the our constitution and NYSC Act that states that a serving Corp 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 NYSC Act says that a corps member must finish service before he/she can be appointed into political office. There is no legal and constitutional limitations whatsoever. I have not broken any law of Nigeria.
“I decided to participate in the current NYSC programme in fulfillment of my own personal commitment and out of 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 anyway 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.”
Newsflash Nigeria understands that the law mandates all Nigerians who graduate from a tertiary institution in or outside Nigeria to undergo NYSC for a period of 12 months. Only those who attained the age of 30 before graduation or those who served in the armed forces or Police for more than nine months, staff of Nigerian security organisations, and those conferred with national honours are exempted from the scheme.
Musawa first experienced a setback on the NYSC issue when her nomination as the National Commissioner representing North West on the board of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) was rejected in 2021 when former President Muhammadu Buhari nominated her.
Musawa’s case has sparked a debate about the NYSC scheme and whether it is still relevant in today’s Nigeria. Some people believe that the scheme is outdated and should be scrapped, while others believe that it is still an important part of national unity.
The NYSC was established in 1973 to promote national unity and integration among Nigerian graduates. The scheme requires all Nigerian graduates who are not exempted to serve for one year in any part of the country.
The scheme has been criticized for being a waste of time and resources, and for being used by the government to exploit young people. However, the NYSC also has its supporters, who argue that it is an important way to promote national unity and understanding.
The debate over the NYSC is likely to continue, but Minister Hannatu Musawa’s case has certainly brought the issue into the spotlight.