The National Youth Service Corps has dismissed the claim by the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, that taking political office had compensated for his deliberate refusal to take part in the compulsory national service.

The spokesperson of the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC), Adenike Adeyemi, said the minister’s juxtaposition of holding an elective office and undergoing the obligatory national service is an error.

Mrs Adeyemi concurred with the unmistakable cases of exemption allowed by the law in Section 2 of the NYSC Act.

The referenced section exempted only four categories of Nigerians from the national service.

Those exempted are those who graduated after their 30th birthday, those who have served in the military or the police for at least nine months and staff of intelligence agencies. The last set of those eligible for exemption are persons who have obtained a national honour.

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Speaking to Tribune newspaper, the NYSC spokesperson said the provisions of the Act are very clear, and there are no exceptions for any person like Mr Shittu who became a lawmaker at the age of 26.

She said “Serving in the National (or state) Assembly is not one of them (conditions for exemption from national service)”.

“You have read the Act and you can see the circumstances where someone is exempted, you analyse it if he [Shittu] was exempted duly or there is a reason why he should have served. But the Act is very straightforward on the grounds for not coming up to serve.

“If you are a graduate locally trained or foreign trained, as long as you graduate before the age of 30, you are expected to serve. Whether foreign or locally trained, the law is the same.

"Our youths should be rightly guided that if you were able to complete your studies and as of the date of graduation, you are under 30, you are eligible to serve,” the NYSC spokesperson said.

Adeyemi insisted that the NYSC law gives no preferential treatment to Nigerians other than those exempted by Section 2 of the Act.

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