…..A lawsuit against the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Minister of Art, Culture and the Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa and Music producer, television presenter and music executive Kenny Ogungbe for alleged violations of the NYSC Act’s provisions has been filed by the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL).
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/05/90/2024 filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday, NBA-SPIDEL is seeking determinations on whether Musawa and Ogungbe can voluntarily decide when to undergo the mandatory National Youth Service after qualifying..
____They also queried the validity of the discharge certificates awarded to both defendants by the NYSC.
The plaintiffs allege that Musawa and Ogungbe failed to participate in the mandatory one year national youth…..service after graduating from university as required by the NYSC Act. They claim that Musawa enrolled in NYSC in 2023 but did not complete the service year, while Ogungbe only enrolled over 30 years after obtaining his bachelor’s degree.
The lawsuit argues that their actions violate sections of the NYSC Act related to the requirement for Nigerian graduates under the age of 30 to undergo national service. It requests the court to nullify Musawa and Ogungbe’s NYSC discharge certificates, bar Musawa from public office, and compel the Federal Government to prosecute the defendants.
In addition to Musawa and Ogungbe, the National Youth Service Corps and the Federal Government of Nigeria were also named as defendants for allegedly enabling or failing to prevent the violations.
,,,,,,,The plaintiffs stated the lawsuit aims to promote the objectives of the NYSC scheme related to instilling discipline and national ethos in Nigerian youth. They expressed concern that the prominent public figures could set a bad precedent by flouting the rules without consequence.
Further relief sought includes compelling the office of the Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute the defendants for failure to make themselves available for service immediately upon graduation as stipulated in the Act.
,,,,,This comes after NBA-SPIDEL in December 2023 issued a pre-action notice to the NYSC demanding the prosecution of Musawa and Ogungbe over the same youth service provision infringements. A subsequent meeting with the NYSC Director-General did not convince the legal body to back down.
Speaking on the lawsuit, NBA-SPIDEL’s Publicity Secretary Sadiya Saleh reiterated that Musawa and Ogungbe’s delayed participation till ages above the requisite 30-year age limit was unlawful. She added that their service year and discharge certificates were thus invalid and void.
,,,,,,,,However, the court will determine whether the allegations constitute violations of the NYSC Act warranting the requested remedies. However, the case has already ignited public debate regarding compliance with the mandatory national service scheme by high-profile individuals.
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