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The Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law has petitioned the court to remove Hannatu Musawa, the Minister of Art, Culture, and Creative Economy, from office for allegedly breaking the National Youth Service Corps Act.

The organisation also requested the court to order the NYSC to cancel the certificates provided to Musawa and a music promoter, Kenny Ogungbe, claiming that the issuing of the certificate was contrary to the terms of the NYSC Act Cap N84.LFN 2024.

The plaintiffs in the FCH/ABJ/05/90/2024 complaint are Funmi Adeogun, Secretary of NBA-SPIDEL, and John Aikpokpo-Martins, Chairman of the organisation.

The first to fourth defendants in the lawsuit are Musawa, Ogungbe, NYSC, and the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The plaintiffs claimed that Musawa and Ogungbe’s mobilisation for the necessary one-year national youth service after reaching the age of 30 was illegitimate, illegal, and an affront to patriotism.

They further claimed that Musawa and Ogungbe’s putative national service and certificates of service issued by the NYSC were null and void.

The plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that, “By virtue of the provisions of Sections 2(1), 12(1), and 13(1) of the National Youth Service Corps Act, Cap. N84 LFN 2004, the 1st and 2nd defendants are not entitled to be engaged as employees by any employer of labour or services (including the Federal Government of Nigeria) without first possessing and presenting their certificates of National Youth Service.

“A declaration that the 1st defendant is not entitled to continue to hold the exalted office of Honourable Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or any public office in Nigeria after violently violating with flagrant impunity the provisions of Sections 2(1), 12(1), and 13(1) of the National Youth Service Corps Act, Cap. N84, LFN 2004.”

It was reported that the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria had accused Musawa in August 2023 of serving as a minister while undertaking the one-year mandatory National Youth Service Corps scheme.

Similarly, in October 2023, Ogungbe caused a commotion on social media when he posted a photo of himself in the NYSC uniform, declaring that he had completed NYSC at the age of 53.

Attempts to contact Musawa were futile because calls to her phone number indicated that it was unreachable. The response to the message provided to her was still pending at the time of filling out this report.