SERAP drag NYSC to court over Adeosun certificate saga
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the Director-General of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Brigadier-General Sule Kazaur to court over the NYSC exemption certificate saga of Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun.
The Suit (FHC/L/CS/1369/18) which was filed on Tuesday at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos on SERAP’s behalf by Ms. Bamisope Adeyanju seek to compel the NYSC to explained the controversy surrounding the NYSC exemption certificate of Adeosun
SERAP noted that the controversy if not properly addressed can weaken public trust in government commitment to transparency and accountability.
SERAP is praying the court to issue an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus directing and/or compelling General Kazaure and the NYSC to urgently provide specific documents and information on Mrs Kemi Adeosun’s application to the NYSC for Exemption and to publish widely including on a dedicated and on the NYSC website, any such information.
The Suit reads in part.
“By the combined provisions of section 104(1) of the Evidence Act, 2011 and sections 14(2)(b) 14(3) and 19(2) of the Freedom of Information Act, the NYSC, being the public institution in charge of issuing exemption certificates from the compulsory NYSC Programme, and having publicly declared that Mrs. Adeosun applied for exemption, has a duty to provide SERAP with details and documents containing the application for exemption and the exemption certificate itself, if it was granted.
“SERAP requested the NYSC to provide the information within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of the letter. But since the receipt of the letter by the NYSC and up till the filing of this suit, the NYSC has failed, refused and/or neglected to respond to or grant SERAP’s request
“This matter is of utmost national importance and public interest because it borders on allegations of circumvention of the law, brought against a high public officer of Nigeria, who has sworn on oath to uphold the laws of the nation; including the NYSC Act. The grant of this application will help reveal the truth about the authenticity of the Exemption Certificate granted to Mrs Adeosun.
“By the combined provisions of Sections 1; 2; 3(4); 4; 7(1)&(5); 9; 14(2)(b)&3; 19(2); and 20 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, the right of access to information is guaranteed and there is a statutory obligation on the NYSC being a public institution, to proactively keep, organize and maintain all information or records about their operations, personnel, activities and other relevant or related information or records in a manner that facilitates public access to such information or record.
“The NYSC has no reason whatsoever not to comply with the demands by SERAP. There is compelling public interest in the disclosure of the information sought by SERAP, which concerns whether a high-ranking Minister had circumvented or disobeyed the law. The public interest, in this case, outweighs any private interest that the NYSC may be protecting. By the provision of Section 20 of the Freedom of Information Act, SERAP is entitled to apply to this Court for a review of the action of the NYSC.
“Unless the reliefs sought by SERAP are granted, the NYSC will not provide SERAP with the documents and information requested and will continue to be in breach of the Freedom of Information Act.
“SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on the Exemption allegedly applied for by Mrs Adeosun.”