A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and human rights lawyer, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has called for the recall and prosecution of the Senator representing Anambra North, Stella Oduah.
Adegboruwa also maintained that Oduah should be barred from seeking any elective positions and made to refund salaries and allowances she received as the Aviation Minister during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration and Senator.
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) had in a letter replying to a request by the Concerned Anambra North Peoples Democratic Party Stakeholders said Oduah did not have a valid NYSC certificate.
The PDP group, which alleged that Oduah claimed her NYSC certificate got missing in transit “to scale through ministerial and senate screening formalities,” requested the service to validate the claim.
In his response, the Director-General of the NYSC said though Oduah was mobilised for the national service in 1982/83 and deployed to Lagos State, she absconded after the orientation and never completed the service.
“The consequence of this is that she is not qualified for the issuance of the certificate of national service,” the Director-General wrote in the letter dated 24th May 2022 and signed on his behalf by Eddy Megwa.
In 2014, Oduah reportedly deposed to an affidavit and obtained a police extract where she stated that sometime in 2010 while in transit from Akili in Ogboru Local Government Area to Abuja, she discovered that some of her personal belongings were missing.
Commenting on the NYSC revelation in an interview with newsmen, Adegboruwa said the senator, whose case is similar to that of Kemi Adeosun, former Minister of Finance, should be arrested and tried for perjury.
He said, “The court position on Adeosun’s case is that possession of NYSC certificate or even participation in that scheme is not a condition for seeking an elective office. But if a person swears on oath that she participated but the certificate got lost and the agency said it didn’t have her record or she didn’t participate and she has lied on oath, that is perjury. She should be liable to be tried for lying on oath.
“If she used that certificate to be elected as Senator, people should be able to go to court to reverse her election and she should refund all the salaries and allowances she has collected for that particular period and ensure that she is prosecuted by relevant law enforcement agencies.”
The lawyer noted that people who want to aspire to a position of public trust must put themselves above board, saying that Oduah should face the consequences of her action.
He added, “If sufficient evidence is produced to show that she used this excuse (that her NYSC certificate got missing) to secure ministerial appointment and elective office to the hallowed chamber of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, any court should be able to make a declaration to disqualify her from aspiring to public office for the rest of her life. She is liable to be barred from aspiring to any public office if this is true.”