By Rafiu Ajakaye
LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Nigeria’s finance minister has resigned after a government panel confirmed allegations that she had submitted a forged National Youth Service certificate of exemption to the government before being appointed to her position.
Femi Adesina, a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, said in a statement late Friday that the president has accepted the resignation of British-born Kemi Adeosun, who has been under pressure to step down after a local news website alleged that she had forged the certificate.
“The president thanked the minister for her service to the nation and wished her well in her future pursuits,” Adesina said in a terse statement, hours after the rumor broke of Adeosun’s resignation.
Minister of State Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed has been asked to oversee the key ministry, according to the statement.
A certificate from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is required for anyone entering or being appointed to a civil service or public service career.
In her letter of resignation to the president, Adeosun said the exemption certificate had been received from a third party she thought had validly obtained it from the NYSC, a post-civil war initiative to unite the deeply fractured country.
The mandatory national service scheme was established in the 1970s shortly after Nigeria fought a bloody civil war that lasted three years. The war followed attempts by the ethnic Igbo to secede from Nigeria, but it was crushed by federal troops.
Established as a way of healing the nation’s wounds, it involves posting college graduates of the country’s south to the north and vice versa to deepen national cohesion.
It is mandatory for all college graduates below the age of 30, while fresh graduates above the age threshold are required to get an exemption certificate instead.
Having lived and studied in the United Kingdom until she was 34 years old when she first visited Nigeria, Adeosun insisted that she had never set out to deceive the country but had been misled into submitting a forged certificate.
“Having never worked in the NYSC, visited the premises, been privy to or familiar with their operations, I had no reason to suspect that the certificate was anything but genuine,” she said.
“Be that as it may, as someone totally committed to a culture of probity and accountability, I have decided to resign with effect from Friday, 14th September, 2018.”