Certificate: Court throws out NYSC’s objection to Governor Mbah’s N20b suit

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Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has struck-out the objection of the National Youth Service Corp, NYSC, to the N20b suit filed by Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu state over the authenticity of his discharge certificate. Governor Mbah dragged the agency before the court seeking N20b damages over alleged conspiracy, deceit, and wilful misrepresentation of facts against him. But NYSC, in their response to the suit, through their lawyer, Aminu Sadauki, filed an objection, arguing that Governor Mbah should have first petitioned or appealed to the Presidency, if he felt aggrieved over any actions or statements by the NYSC regarding his certificate, rather than approaching the court straightaway.

He said the Governor failed to take the opportunity provided in Section 20 of the NYSC Act before approaching the court. In his response to the objection the Governor told the court to dismiss the objection. Mbah, through his counsel, Chief Emeka Ozoani, SAN, said Section 20 of the NYSC Act, which NYSC’s lawyer referred to does not apply to him. Mbah told the court to dismiss the objection on the ground that he is neither a serving Corps member nor an employee of the NYSC.

In his ruling, Justice Ekwo said the Section 20 of the NYSC Act cited by the applicant, NYSC, is not applicable to the respondent in the application. According to him the section is only applicable to serving members of the NYSC. “I am minded to agree with the Plaintiff on whom the provision of Section 20 of the NYSC Act, 2004 applies. This means that the provision has a category of persons to whom it is applicable. “A keen perusal of the provision of Section 22 (1) and (2) of the Act would reveal that it sets out the person to whom the provision of S. 20 of the Act applies, which is a ‘member of the service corps’, which is defined to mean a person registered as a member of the service corps.

“It is then stated in Section 21 (2) that for the purpose of the Act, the reference to a ‘member of the service corps’ includes, unless to the context otherwise requires or it is otherwise expressly provided, a prospective member of the service corps or any person who is a registered member. “It is rather sad that the objection of the defendant (NYSC) has been used to waste the time of this court, this objection is hereby struck out”.

The court has adjourned hearing of the substantive matter till September 21 and 22, 2023.

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