Forgery: Adeosun has case to answer, say lawyers

Some eminent lawyers yesterday insisted that a former Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has a case of forgery to answer. Adeosun, who resigned last week from office was alleged to have forged her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption letter. The former minister, who later admitted that the certificate was forged, resigned her position as the Minister of Finance. However, reacting to this, a Public Interest Lawyer, Dr. Abdul Mahmud, said Adeosun has a case to answer to the allegation of forgery of the NYSC exemption certificate. He said: “Adeosun’s more intriguing. Unfortunately she didn’t seek proper legal guidance. ‘Dem think say na’ only SANs know the law. She shouldn’t have procured an Oluwole anyway.

“When she graduated in 1989, her Nigerian citizenship had already been nullified by section 26 (1) and (3) CFRN 1979- Refusal of dual citizen ship. “By not renouncing her British citizenship on 1 October 1979 or 1988 when she turned 21, as demanded by section 26(3) CFRN 1979, she lost her Nigerian citizenship, which was later restored when section 28 (dual citizenship) of the CFRN 1999 came into effect 29 May 1999.

“My contention is that: in 1989 when she graduated at 22 she was no longer a citizen of Nigeria, so she couldn’t have served as a foreigner- British citizen. “On whether she should be tried for forgery, yes. She admitted that her associates procured the fake exemption certificate. What can be determined is her intent (mens rea) and what role she played (actus reus). “My argument here is novel. One addition is that when the 1999 constitution restored her citizenship by birth in 1999 she had also passed the service age of 30 years. She was 32 years.

“Some may argue that when the military promulgated The Constitution ( Suspension and Modification) Decree No 1, 1984, the 1979 Constitution was effectively suspended by the military decree. This is an erroneous argument. “Decree No 1 of 1984 only suspended and modified parts of the 1979 Constitution, and not the entire Constitution. Chapter 3 which dealt with citizenship and Chapter 4 which dealt with Fundamental Rights were NEVER suspended or modified by Decree No 1, 1984. “What this means in effect is that Section 26, which dealt with ‘avoidance of dual citizenship’ was never touched by the decree. Another Abuja based lawyer, Mr. Innocent Jegede, said admission was not a bar to prosecution. He said: “An offence has been committed, investigation and prosecution must follow. That is the law. The executive would be laying a dangerous precedence should they fail to prosecute.”

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