Scandal rocks Arts Minister Musawa

Hannatu Musa Musawa

..She’s a serving youth corps member/Minister

…NYSC describes status as illegal

…Faces two-year jail term

…Likely to face Kemi Adeosun’s fate

…Role of Senate, DSS condemned

By Ukpono Ukpong

Trouble may be brewing for newly appointed Minister of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musa Musawa, as she is alleged to be a serving member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

Authorities of NYSC at its Abuja national headquarters confirmed to The Daily Times last night that ”it is illegal” for Musawa, or anyone else, to engage in double service as Minister and youth corps member simultaneously..

Musawa, who is a young woman, is said to be serving somewhere in Wuse 2, Abuja.

The Daily Times recalls that Section 13 of the NYSC Act stipulates that any Nigerian graduate below 30 who refuses to make himself/herself available for the compulsory one-year service has committed an offence “and liable, on conviction, to a fine of N4,OOO or to imprisonment for a term of two years or to both such (fine and imprisonment).”

In 2020, the Senate, then headed by Ahmed Lawan, rejected the official bid by the government of then-President Muhammadu Buhari to have it confirm Musawa for the top seat of Commissioner to represent North-West in National Pension Commission (PENCOM) because she failed to present her NYSC certificate.

The latest allegation was made by prominent pro-democracy and civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) yesterday.

READ ALSO: UNICEF To Commit 270M USD To Integrate Humanitarian

In a statement titled: ‘You can’t be a serving NYSC Corper and Minister at the Same Time’ and signed by National President, HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, the group said Musawa was posted to Onyilokwu Onyilowa and Co., said to be located at the old Banex Plaza.

It alleged that her NYSC posting details are FC/23A/505.

The development brings to mind the celebrated case of Kemi Adeosun, first Finance Minister under the immediate past government of Buhari, who resigned on September 15, 2018, from the position over allegations of using a forged certificate to avoid participation in the compulsory one-year NYSC.

Blasting the Godswill Akpabio-led 10th Senate for allowing Musawa to ”take a bow and go”, HURIWA questioned the gesture by the lawmakers, some of whom, it hinted, had prior knowledge that there were unanswered posers over her NYSC status.

Onwubiko said: ”The Nigerian Senate allowed Hannatu Musawa, then ministerial nominee, to ‘bow and go’ despite the controversy surrounding her National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) certificate.”

Musawa was the last ministerial nominee to show up for Senate’s screening during penultimate Tuesday’s plenary session of the Nigerian Senate.

HURIWA described as ”despicable what was a routine with the Godswill Akpabio-led Senate, in which the then ministerial nominee Ms. Musawa was asked to ‘take a bow and go’ without being asked any questions about her academic qualifications, including the controversy surrounding her NYSC certificate which, as confirmed to HURIWA by a credible source in the NYSC, that the Minister is actually a Youth corper.”

HURIWA also recalled that in 2020, the Lawan-led Senate rejected Musawa’s nomination as the Commissioner into representing PENCOM.

It said: ”Her failure to submit her National Youth Service (NYSC) certificate was cited as reason for her rejection. While it is compulsory for every Nigerian graduate to take part in the National Youths Service Corps for one year, graduates who are above 30 years are exempt from the national service.

”Section 13 of the National Youths Service Corps Act stipulates that any Nigerian graduate below 30 who refuses to make himself/herself available for the compulsory one-year service has committed an offence “and liable on conviction to a fine of N4,OOO or to imprisonment for a term of two years or to both such fine and imprisonment.”

HURIWA which also condemned Musawa for her alleged display of illegality by spreading crispy N1,000 notes to some local Hausa musicians at an event in which she was reportedly being celebrated over her appointment as Minister.

The rights group has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) investigate her and possibly arrest and prosecute the Minister ”for breaching the extant law which prohibits such abuses of the national currency of Nigeria.”

HURIWA also challenged the NYSC to compel the Minister to choose ”between completing her engagement as a corps member under the NYSC and then bag her NYSC Certificate or to disengage from being a Youth corper and then focus on her new task as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

HURIWA wondered why Musawa’s accurate status was not disclosed to members of the public before the Senate ”sensationally failed to screen her as it should.”

Onwubiko added: ”HURIWA wonders the kind of scrutiny being conducted by the Department of State Services so much so that it wasn’t disclosed that the Minister is actually a Youth corper…Years back, Musawa abandoned her NYSC in Ebonyi State but later showed interest to complete it in which she was mobilized this year and posted to a law firm in Abuja where she is as a corper before President Tinubu picked her as a ministerial nominee, she was confirmed by Senate without proper screening and sworn in by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Minister of Arts.”

Contacted by The Daily Times, NYSC Public Relations Officer (PRO), Eddy Megwa, said: ”Yes, she is currently doing her compulsory one-year National Youth Service. She was mobilized some time ago when she was below 30 years of age, but she absconded from service.

”Some time ago, she came back and indicated interest to complete her service, and she was re-mobilized in line with the NYSC Act.”

When asked if it was proper for her to still serve even when she is above 40 years of age, the NYSC spokesman said that the scheme acted in line with NYSC Act because the reason for any Corps member not being able to complete his or her service may stem from natural cause such as ill health.

“A Corps member may fail to complete his or her service due to natural cause, for example ill health. If such a Corps member comes back to complete the compulsory one-year service, the scheme must re-mobilize such a person since we cannot just give out the certificate without completing the service.”

Also asked if her appointment as Minister contravened the NYSC Act, Megwa said “According to NYSC Act, it’s illegal for her to hold any government position in Nigeria. It contravenes the laws of NYSC Act.”

For more news update follow us on www.dailytimesng.com

About the author

Ihesiulo Grace

Leave a Comment