The Presidency on Tuesday distanced itself from the comments made by the chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) Itse Sagay, on allegations of certificate forgery levelled against the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun.
Spokesperson to President Muhammadu Buhari, Femi Adesina, made the clarification while appearing on Channels Television breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, Tuesday.
More than 50 days after the scandal broke out, Adesina also claimed that the Nigerian government is not silent on the allegations.
It was exposed in July how Mrs Adeosun skipped the mandatory National Service for all Nigerians who graduated from universities or equivalent institutions at less than 30 years of age. The investigation also revealed that Mrs Adeosun presented a fake exemption certificate to cover her track.
In addition to being a requirement for government and private sector jobs in Nigeria, the enabling law prescribes punishment for anyone who absconds from the scheme or forges its certificates. Eligible Nigerians who skipped the service are liable to be sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and/or N2,000 fine, according to Section 13 of the NYSC law. Section 13 (3) of the law also prescribes three-year jail term or option of N5,000 fine for anyone who contravenes provision of the law as Mrs Adeosun has done.
Sagay, had on August 9 said the minister should not be sacked because she is “damn good”. Although he clarified that the position was entirely his.
Sagay, a law professor, also said it is irrelevant if Mrs Adeosun didn’t observe the mandatory youth service.
But speaking on Tuesday, Adesina, explained that Sagay’s comments were his personal opinion and not the stance of the president.
“It was a personal comment, that is not the position of the Government and Professor Sagay has a right to his opinion,” Adesina said.
When probed on why it is taking the government and its agency, the NYSC, that long to come out with a position on the issue, he said, “(It is) Not how long but how well, and that wouldn’t qualify as silence… I am sure NYSC also has a spokesperson that you can follow up with.”