Everything We Know So Far About Hannatu Musawa, The New Minister Of Arts & Culture And Her NYSC Status Controversy

Hannatu Musawa NYSC
Hannatu Musawa NYSC Controversy

There has been ongoing controversy regarding the newly appointed Minister of Arts, Culture, and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, and her NYSC status.

Musawa is among the 45 ministers who were sworn in by President Bola Tinubu on Monday, August 21.

On August 23, 2023, The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) claimed Hannatu was a serving NYSC member questioning her appointment as minister.

The civil rights group in a statement alleged Musawa abandoned her NYSC in Ebonyi State some years ago, but later expressed interest in completing it. She was mobilized in 2023 and posted to a law company in Abuja, where she was a serving Corps member till Tinubu nominated her.

Eddy Megwa, the director of publicity and public relations at the NYSC headquarters, also confirmed to TheCable that the minister is indeed a serving corps member.

The group then asked the management of the NYSC to compel Musawa to focus on her national youth service or the ministerial appointment.

Background of Musawa’s NYSC controversy

The controversy behind Musawa’s NYSC status didn’t just surface, it all began about three years ago when she was unable to produce documentation of national service to senators during a screening for a position nominated by former President Muhammadu Buhari according to Premium Times.

Buhari nominated her for appointment as the national commissioner representing Nigeria’s northwest geopolitical zone on the board of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM).

Ms. Musawa requested a replacement for her NYSC certificate in a letter to the NYSC sent through its Kaduna State coordinator in hopes of being screened by the Senate. She alleged that the NYSC certificate was among the papers destroyed in a fire that destroyed her Asokoro home in 2019.

Everything went downhill from here with a back-and-forth between NYSC and Musawa.

Records and findings obtained by the publication, reveal an NYSC discharge certificate issued under Ms Musawa’s name in 2003 exists and is in the custody of the Corps. Authorities, however, are withholding the certificate after accusing her of absconding during her service year which the lawyer has refuted adding that was not given a fair hearing to demonstrate that she did not flee, and NYSC was not thorough and meticulous enough in its search for her record.

Presidential campaign spokesman, senior lawyers back Musawa’s appointment

Former presidential campaign spokesman of President Bola Tinubu, Dr. Josef Onoh has thrown his weight behind Hannatu adding that she did not violate any laws by consenting to serve as a minister during her service year, stating that the constitution is clear on what the NYSC may do, which he stated was to remobilize her at any time in the future if she chose not to serve now.

In his words:

“Now that she is a minister under public scrutiny, it doesn’t matter if she wrote to the NYSC about her appointment or not. What the Scheme can do is to cancel her service year; and so whenever she finishes as a minister, she can come back for remobilization.

“She’s already appointed as a minister even though it’s presumed she is still serving and so the maximum the NYSC can do is not to issue her a certificate at the end of her service year. By accepting to be a minister, she has indirectly agreed to be remobilized at any time in the future.

“She did not tender any NYSC certificate and has not been faulted for not meeting the constitutional requirement of being a minister.

“In fact, it’s high time all political office holders simply stick to tendering the minimum requirements as stated in the Constitution to put an end to all these academic and certificate dramas that Nigerians have become obsessed with.

Some senior attorneys also approved President Bola Tinubu’s choice of Musawa claiming that the Nigerian Constitution supports her appointment. The lawyers argued that the Constitution supersedes the NYSC Act.

Hannatu Musawa denies statement on NYSC status

Hannatu Musawa has distanced herself from a statement making the rounds about her commenting on her NYSC status controversy.

In a statement on Monday, August 28, signed by the Deputy Director, Press Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation, the minister stated that she has not made any official statements regarding the aforementioned matter in a statement. The statement reads in parts:

“The attention of Barrister Hannatu Musa Musawa, Hon. Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy, has been drawn to a recently circulating piece titled:

“MY PERSONAL STATEMENT ON MY NYSC STATUS AS A SERVING MINISTER. The piece is inaccurately associated with her in relation to the current NYSC discussion.

“The Hon. Minister clarifies that she has not released any official statement regarding the aforementioned matter and kindly asks the public to be cautious of unverified information.

“I deeply value and appreciate the support, solidarity, and understanding of Nigerians in these times. For clarity, I wish to state that I have not issued any statement on the current issue.”

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