From Abubakar Y Ojima, Abuja
The Concerned Citizens Forum of Nigeria (CCFN) has called on the Nigerian Army to investigate the Director General (DG) of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) over alleged age falsification and evasion of service.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, the leader of the group, Comrade Bilal Abdullahi Muhammed, said Brigadier General MK Fadah must be investigated.
“The Concerned Citizens Forum of Nigeria (CCFN) has committed to demonstrating to Nigerians that we can and shall rescue this our beloved nation, one institution at a time, and right now we are keeping a laser focus on the NYSC.
“Our being here today attests to how the country can be salvaged and liberated not by jumping on the bandwagon of thinking only the president of the country has to act but salvaged by recognizing that we will get the country right when the component entities are properly X-rayed, and action demanded to address established violations.
“The National Youth Service Scheme, NYSC, is one of such component entities of Nigeria, one that is crucial for the very fact that any of our youth with tertiary education graduating below the age of 30 years is expected to pass through the scheme as a matter of compulsion. At any point in time in a year, as many as 300,000 youth or more are taking part in the scheme. It is therefore glaring that the NYSC is a contact point for our youth to learn values like honor, transparency, integrity, and integration.
“This places a burden on whoever leads the NYSC to be a befitting role model for the teeming youth that take part in the scheme. The Director General of the NYSC cannot be seen as someone who cuts corners or engages in acts for which corps members under the scheme would be punished when found out.
“It is therefore saddening that the incumbent Director General, Brigadier General MK Fadah has allegedly engaged in acts for which any prospective, serving or former corps member would be put on trial with a high probability of being jailed if found out. There has been a lot of buzz about how Brigadier General Fadah falsified his age at the time of joining the Nigerian Army. This amounts to forgery, which is a criminal offense, ” the group said.
“While we were still trying to come to terms with the implications of a public office holder of his stature falsifying his age, the Concerned Citizens Forum of Nigeria (CCFN) was again jolted to learn that the Director General of NYSC did not participate in the mandatory one-year national service. The NYSC Act is unequivocal on the consequence of evading service, which should be one hundred folds for someone who shimmied his way to leading the very institution he violated as a youth.
“The Senate failed to properly scrutinize Brigadier General Fadah’s credentials when he appeared before the Red Chamber for screening. We can easily attribute this system failure to the interference of the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, who has been reported as being the one who tipped Fadah for the role, being from the same Yobe State as the NYSC DG. Such parochial institutional failing has no place in Nigeria we want to emerge.
“The federal lawmakers were also coerced into ignoring the record of the Nigerian Army that Fadah had mental health issues that made him keep a date with worrisome episodes and is still being rehabilitated before he was drafted to the NYSC as DG against logical reasoning.
“On the strength of the foregoing, being the institution that produced him, Nigerian Youths are appealing to the Nigerian Army to save its name and the NYSC from the future embarrassment that would result from the handling of the case of MK Fadah. We consequently demand that the Nigerian Army immediately orders an investigation into the allegations of evading the mandatory one-year NYSC service and age falsification against Brigadier General MK Fadah. If found culpable, the Army applies all its prescribed processes to make an example of Fadah, including dismissing him and making him serve a jail term for bringing that sterling institution into disrepute.
“Furthermore, the Concerned Citizens Forum of Nigeria (CCFN) calls on the Senate Ethics and Privileges Committee to investigate failings that led to the Senate being used to validate the appointment of someone who falsified his age, evaded the mandatory one-year service that is supervised by the institution he now leads, and his mental health issues when he was being appointed. The investigation should be to identify those who helped Fadah to rig his screening and thereby ridicule the Senate.
“CCFN will be actively monitoring the responses of the Nigerian Army and the Senate to these sets of demands while continuing to engage stakeholders for an amplified response to correct the anomaly. Where the requested investigation and corresponding actions do not take place within a reasonable time, we shall be marching and occupying the spaces of the concerned organizations until they do the needful, ” the group added.