Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre, a non-governmental organisation in Nigeria, has filed an ex parte motion before the Federal High Court sitting at Ikoyi, Lagos State, seeking for the leave of court to apply for an order mandating the Inspector General of Police to commence urgent investigations into the recently publicised allegations of forgery of National Youth Service Corps certificate against Kemi Adeosun, Nigeria’s Finance Minister.
HEDA Resource Centre, which has the promotion of transparency and accountability in government as one of its core mandates, said it chose to approach the courts to ensure that the matter is not swept under the carpet like most of such allegations involving politically exposed persons, thus its application for leave to seek judicial review.
In a statement issued and signed by Olanrewaju Suraju, HEDA's chairman, the motion was dated August 30, 2018, and filed alongside an affidavit deposed to by Olalekan Yahaya Buhari, Programme Officer of HEDA Resource Centre, in addition to a certificate of identification of a computer-generated document; a statement; a verifying affidavit, and a written address.
HEDA's application follows an earlier petition written to the IGP, dated July 10, 2018 demanding a thorough and urgent investigation of the allegations of forgery of NYSC certificate by Adeosun.
The application also requested that if the minister is found culpable, she should be prosecuted, alongside the State Security Service (SSS) officials responsible for vetting her certificate, including members of the parliament accused of exploiting her situation for budgetary favours.
HEDA, in the said petition, based its request on the express provisions of Section 13 of the NYSC Act, which makes the NYSC programme compulsory for all Nigerians who graduate from university or equivalent institutions within or outside Nigeria at less than 30 years of age. The Act also prescribes a prison term of 12 months and/or N2,000 fine for eligible Nigerians who skip the service year without valid reasons recognised under the Act.
In the aforementioned petition to the IGP, the organisation stated that where official acknowledgement or response is not received from the IGP or the police force within two weeks of receipt of the petition, the organisation may be compelled to institute legal action to ensure that the necessary investigations and relevant actions are carried out in accordance with the law.
The court application papers showed the prayers of the applicant (HEDA Resource Centre) to be as follows:
"An order granting leave to the applicant to apply for an order of mandamus compelling the office of the IGP to investigate and publish its report on the allegations of forgery of NYSC certificate against Nigeria’s finance minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.
"And for such further order or orders as the honourable court may deem fit to make in the circumstances."
HEDA also urged the court to hear the matter urgently in the overriding interest of justice, noting that the subject matter is of utmost national concern and, particularly, of interest to civil society.