June 13, 2024

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), a civic organization, has claimed that the recently appointed Minister of Arts, Culture, and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musa Musawa, is currently serving as a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). According to HURIWA’s statement, which was issued by its National President, Emmanuel Onwubiko, on Wednesday, Musawa was assigned to a place called Onyilokwu Onyilowa and Co., situated at the old Banex Plaza in Abuja.

In a press release titled “Simultaneous Service as NYSC Corper and Minister Infeasible,” HURIWA alleged that her NYSC assignment reference is FC/23A/505. Criticizing the 10th Senate led by Senator Godswill Akpabio, HURIWA expressed bewilderment at the senators allowing Musawa to “take a bow and go” during her confirmation despite suspicions surrounding her NYSC status.

Onwubiko voiced, “The Nigerian Senate permitted Hannatu Musawa, a then ministerial nominee, to proceed without scrutiny despite the ongoing dispute concerning her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate.”

During the previous Tuesday’s session in the Nigerian Senate, Musawa was the final ministerial nominee to undergo screening. HURIWA characterized the procedure involving the Godswill Akpabio-led Senate as “shameful.” According to HURIWA, Musawa was afforded a “bow and go” session without any inquiry into her academic qualifications, including the contentious matter of her NYSC certificate. HURIWA stated that it had been confirmed by a reliable source within the NYSC that the Minister is indeed an active Youth corps member.

Recalling events from 2020, HURIWA pointed out that Musawa’s nomination as a Commissioner representing PENCOM was rejected by the Senate under Lawan’s leadership. This rejection was attributed to her failure to present her National Youth Service (NYSC) certificate. HURIWA cited Section 13 of the National Youth Service Corps Act, which designates the refusal of a Nigerian graduate below 30 to engage in the mandatory one-year service as an offense punishable by a fine or imprisonment.

HURIWA not only condemned Musawa for allegedly distributing crisp N1,000 notes to local Hausa musicians at a celebratory event, where she was honored for her ministerial appointment, but also demanded that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) investigate, arrest, and potentially prosecute her for violating currency regulations.

Additionally, HURIWA challenged the NYSC to require Musawa to make a choice between fulfilling her role as a corps member and obtaining her NYSC Certificate or relinquishing her status as a Youth corps member to concentrate on her ministerial responsibilities. HURIWA questioned why Musawa’s true status wasn’t disclosed to the public and criticized the Senate for its lack of scrutiny.

Onwubiko added that HURIWA wonders about the extent of scrutiny by the Department of State Services (DSS) if Musawa’s true status as a Youth corper wasn’t revealed. Musawa initially abandoned her NYSC in Ebonyi State but later sought to complete it; she was mobilized for service this year and assigned to a law firm in Abuja. Her nomination as a ministerial candidate by President Tinubu was followed by her confirmation by the Senate and her subsequent swearing-in as Minister of Arts.

According to The Daily Times, NYSC Public Relations Officer Eddy Megwa affirmed that Musawa is presently fulfilling her mandatory one-year National Youth Service. Megwa disclosed that Musawa had been mobilized while below 30 but had left service. She later returned to complete her service after a break, leading to her re-mobilization per the NYSC Act. Megwa clarified that even if a Corps member is over 30, they may still be allowed to complete service due to reasons like ill health. He also highlighted that Musawa’s appointment as Minister contradicts the NYSC Act’s provisions.

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