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CLO calls for urgent sack of Culture Minister, Musawa

By Linus Aleke, Abuja

The Civil Liberty Organization (CLO), has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to invoke his powers and relieve Ms Hannatu Musawa, of her duties as Minister of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy in his nascent cabinet, over her lack of qualifications to occupy the exulted position, as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

National Treasurer, CLO, Comrade Halima Ibrahim, made this call in Abuja, while, addressing a press conference, on the new wave of certificate forgery amongst the political elites and its inherent dangers on the nation’s economic growth and socio-political development.

In pursuant of its Democracy and Governance mandate, the CLO, advised the Minister to reject the appointment and resign her position immediately, or prepare for her sack by the president.

This is as the civil advocacy group also called out the Enugu State Governor, Mr. Peter Mbah, for his vicious attack on the reputable Federal Government institution – the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC), for standing on the side of truth.

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“In the last six months, the country has witnessed two festering cases which are yet to be resolved. One of the cases involved the current Governor of Enugu State, Mr. Peter Mbah and the other, a serving Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Ms. Hannatu Musawa. The case of Ms Hannatu Musawa, Minister of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy is disturbing. She is currently a serving member of the NYSC before her appointment as a Minister by President Bola Tinubu. Her case has instigated unnecessary debate by some lawyers and Nigerians who are now sharply divided. Some lawyers who are defending her appointment rely on the provisions of Section 147 of the 1999 constitution particularly sub-section 5. It states that no person shall be appointed as a Minister of the Government of the Federation unless he is qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives. The question is what are the qualifications for election into the House of Representatives? This we find in section 106 of the 1999 constitution. You must be a citizen of Nigeria, you must have attained the age of 25 years, and you have been educated up to at least a school certificate level, or its equivalent. You must be a member of a political party and you must be sponsored by that political party. But the same constitution also makes it mandatory for any University graduate in Nigeria to possess the NYSC discharge certificate. For us in the CLO, this presents a moral burden on Ms Musawa who should reject the appointment and resign her position immediately. In the event that she fails to resign her appointment, we request that President Bola Tinubu invoke his powers under the constitution to IMMEDIATELY withdraw her appointment.

“In the Enugu Governor’s case, the NYSC has proven beyond all reasonable doubt that the certificate, the Governor parades was not issued by them, yet Nigerians have watched as the Governor keeps launching orchestrated judicial onslaughts and media campaigns of calumny against the NYSC. As citizens are treated to this macabre drama orchestrated by Mr Peter Mba against the NYSC, the CLO wishes to draw public attention to a settled case as espoused recently by the Supreme Court in Oyetola Vs Adeleke that it is only the issuing authority of a certificate that has the sole authority, to the exclusion of any other authority or entity, to validate or repudiate the certificate issued by that authority”.

As a leading human rights organisation that consistently advocates for constitutional democracy, rule of law, due process, justice and equity and equality of all before the law, she noted that the CLO is further concerned that Mr Peter Mbah and his lawyers knew this, yet, they threw everything into the ring to stop the NYSC from coming to testify at the Enugu State Governorship Election Tribunal.

Querying what the Governor was afraid of, Comrade Ibrahim, averred that the case of the Enugu State Governor has become a moral burden on the country and his continued stay in office presents an affront on the Constitution, the groundnorm of our laws.

Nigeria, CLO said, is presently torn between allowing Mr Peter Mbah remain in office as a Governor and sustaining the integrity of the NYSC Scheme.

Stressing that one must give way for the other, the group noted that it is its contention that the NYSC must be protected against the rabid onslaught of powerful forces.

“If the judiciary on whose doorsteps the matter lies, fails to deliver substantial justice in this case and allows Mr Peter Mbah to walk away a free man without convincing proof of how he obtained his NYSC certificate, this would signpost the death of that beautiful scheme called the National Youth Service Corps,” she added.

CLO concluded that Nigeria needs strong institutions and not strong individuals.

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