Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communications, have been found to have skipped the one year mandatory national youth service scheme.
Shittu, who is also contesting for the Oyo State governorship committed an offence that may see him lose his position and earn him jail term.
According to Premium Times, the minister failed to participate in the NYSC scheme despite graduating from the then University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) at age 25.
This revelation is coming a week after former minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun was compelled to step down after it was reported that she skipped national service and then procured a fake exemption certificate to cover her tracks.
Months of discreet checks at the NYSC headquarters showed that the communications minister did not present himself for service after graduation and is yet to do so till date.
Accoring to Premium Times, Shittu admitted that he did not serve but claimed he thought his first political post after graduation could suffice as national service, a claim lawyers and NYSC insiders consider as ludicrous and untenable.
The minister said he believed that having been elected lawmaker, he needed not participate in the national service.
He said he deliberatively skipped the NYSC scheme because he was convinced that his membership of the state assembly was itself a “service”.
“The constitution provides for the qualification needed for state assembly members, NYSC is not there,” Mr. Shittu said. “I didn’t need it to become a member of the state assembly, and that is already a service,” he said.
Having earned a bachelors degree at the age of 25, Section 2 of the NYSC Act expects Mr Shittu to have participated in the year-long national service.
Those exempted by the law are those who graduated after their 30th birthday, persons with national honours and individuals who serve in the military and intelligence organisations.
Mr Shittu disagreed with our reporter who laboured to explain to him that the NYSC Act makes participation in the scheme mandatory for all graduates like him and that election or appointment to political office does not qualify as a basis for exemption.
Skipping the compulsory national service is an offence under the NYSC law, punishable with up to 12 months imprisonment and employers are mandated by law to always request NYSC certificate of national service from employees as part of the conditions for hiring.