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Lawyers Back Hannatu Musawa’s Ministerial Appointment, Says Constitution Superior To NYSC Act

controversy deepened in the past days following the disclosure by the NYSC that the minister is currently undergoing her national youth service.

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Hannatu
Hannatu Musawa

Some senior lawyers have backed the appointment of Hannatu Musawa as Minister of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, by President Bola Tinubu, saying the Nigerian Constitution also supports her appointment.

VerseNews gathered that the lawyers argued that the Constitution is superior to the NYSC Act.

Mr. Norrison Quakers (SAN) commended Tinubu, saying her appointment is a youth empowerment initiative.

“However, when you look at the provisions of Section 147 of the 1999 Constitution particularly sub-section 5, it states that no person shall be appointed as a Minister of the Government of the Federation unless he is qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives.

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“The question is what are the qualifications for election into the House of Representatives? This we find in section 106 of the 1999 constitution.  You must be a citizen of Nigeria, you must have attained the age of 25 years, and you have been educated up to at least a school certificate level, or its equivalent. You must be a member of a political party and you must be sponsored by that political party.

“What is causing the conflict is as regards her status and a youth corps member that is still serving.  I have looked at the law, and I have not seen any constitutional limitations. I have also looked at Section 2 of the NYSC Act, there is no law that says, she must have finished service before she can be appointed as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he explained.

VerseNews learnt that controversy deepened in the past days following the disclosure by the NYSC that the minister is currently undergoing her national youth service, sparking calls by her critics that she should vacate office.

Today that Ms Musawa’s national service saga has a longer history and is far more complicated than is publicly known.

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A review of a cache of documents and interviews with people familiar with the matter revealed that Ms Musawa and NYSC authorities had battled for at least three years over her real NYSC status and a withheld certificate.

While the lawyer claimed she completed her national service in 2003 and should be issued the withheld certificate, the NYSC claimed she absconded midway into her service. After the years-long back and forth failed to produce results, Ms Musawa then opted to be remobilised to serve out whatever period of time the NYSC believes is outstanding for her. “We advised her to sue the NYSC over the matter,” an associate of the minister said. “But she refused, saying she preferred a peaceful resolution of the matter.”

An NYSC discharge certificate issued in Ms Musawa’s name in 2003 exists and is in the custody of the Corps, according to documents seen by this newspaper. However, authorities are withholding the document after accusing her of absconding at a point during her service year. On her part, Ms Musawa said the NYSC was not diligent and careful enough in its search for her record and that she was not accorded a fair hearing to prove that she did not abscond.

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