The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has issued a stern warning that individuals caught forging its discharge or exemption certificates could face severe penalties, including imprisonment, fines, or both.
The announcement came from Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim, the Director of Legal Services, during the 2023 Legal Officers’ Capacity Building Training held in Abuja on Monday.
Under the theme “The Role of the Legal Officer in the Defence of the Public Service in Nigeria,” the training aimed to enhance the professional capabilities of legal officers within the NYSC. Mr. Ibrahim emphasized that the NYSC Act contains provisions regarding various infractions, with forging NYSC certificates being a significant offense.
Mr. Ibrahim highlighted other infractions, such as individuals required to participate in the youth service failing to do so, or those who start but do not complete the service and subsequently abscond. He emphasized that the Act specifies appropriate actions to be taken in such instances.
In addition, Mr. Ibrahim revealed that some individuals attend NYSC orientation camps with falsified documents. When such individuals are apprehended, they are arrested by the police for prosecution. While the exact number of such cases in court is unknown, Mr. Ibrahim assured that they are being actively pursued.
“The punishment, first of all, is to arrest them,” Mr. Ibrahim explained. “The police will now charge them to court, and it is up to the courts to decide if imprisonment or a fine should be imposed. The term of imprisonment can range from two to three years, depending on the offense, and the court may also impose a fine concurrently.”
Regarding the involvement of Corps Producing Institutions (CPIs) in these infractions, Mr. Ibrahim stated that the NYSC engages in “lifting the veil of corporate personality” of such institutions. If CPIs submit names of unqualified corps members, they are considered guilty and are also taken to court. The punishment for CPIs is determined at the court’s discretion.
However, Mr. Ibrahim clarified that the NYSC does not delist such institutions but permits them to continue submitting names of their eligible corps members for mobilization.
Expressing concern over the increasing frequency of these infractions, Mr. Ibrahim emphasized the importance of the training in educating the public about the NYSC Act’s provisions and guiding principles.
In his address, the Director-General of the NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Yusha’u Ahmed, highlighted the significance of enhancing capacity building to improve efficiency and enhance corporate performance within the scheme. The training aimed to harness the potential of legal officers in the NYSC, ensuring they provide professional services of the highest caliber.
“Over the past 50 years, our experience has shown that training and re-training staff of the scheme have yielded fruitful results,” Brig.-Gen. Ahmed stated. “The Legal Unit, in particular, has diligently provided quality legal advice to the NYSC management and has demonstrated professionalism in handling cases involving the scheme in various Nigerian courts.”
Brig.-Gen. Ahmed expressed his hope that the training would further contribute to the unit’s accomplishments and strengthen the values of the NYSC.