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Aisha Buhari visits senate in support of 35% affirmative action



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The first lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mrs Aisha Buhari on wednesday came calling at the Nigeria Senate with her entourage midway through plenary to witness the laying of the report of the Senate Committee on Constitution Review

The visit by the First Lady was also to show support for a bill to have more female parliamentarians at the federal and state legislatures. 

The president’s wife was accompanied by the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and a delegation of Nigerian women.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, immediately after referring a bill for an Act to Amend the Federal High Court Act Cap F134 to the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, suspended Rule 12(1) – Privileges of the Floor – and invoked Rule 1(b) to admit the First Lady and her delegation into the chamber at exactly 11:58am. 

The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central), Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Alteration to the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, laid the report at 12:06pm. 

After the report was laid, Lawan
said, “The First Lady’s visit is to show support for a bill for more female parliamentarians in both chambers in the Senate and the House and the State Legislatures.

“This, we believe, will help in nation building as such significant participation by our women will add value to not only legislation but the much desired and needed national development.

“For us as a nation, our motto is Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress. We believe that all hands must be on deck to ensure the participation of each and every segment of our society.”

The Senate President, assured the First Lady that Ninth Assembly, while voting on the amendments to the constitution as contained in the ad-hoc committee’s report, would ensure that women participation in governance is commensurate with their population. 
“At the moment, you’ll all agree with me that our women have not been able to get that level of participation commensurate with their population as reflected in our demography.

“Therefore, what we are trying to do (Amendment of the Constitution) will go through voting later to complete the process in the National Assembly”, Lawan said.

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NationalUpdate Woman

Musawa: FG weighs up soft landing, may redeploy her to Youth ministry to oversee NYSC, HURIWA Alleges




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Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has claimed that there is an orchestrated maneuver by the presidency for a soft landing over the controversy surrounding Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy, Ms. Hannatu Musawa.

Musawa, who before her appointment remained a serving member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has been at the center of a controversy since HURIWA exposed her status thereby raising questions regarding her eligibility and transparency in public office.

A potentially strategic plan by the government was in the offing, a statement on Monday by the National Coordinator of HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, had disclosed.

HURIWA alleged from source he said was reliable said that there are indications that the Presidency is considering a strategic reshuffle to allow the positioning of Musawa to head the Ministry of Youth Development which oversees the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

HURIWA said that the move has raised eyebrows and prompted concerns about the transparency and accountability in governance.

According to HURIWA; “The core of the unfolding saga revolves around Minister Hannatu Musawa’s alleged inability to furnish conclusive evidence of her completion of the mandatory National Youth Service program during her Senate confirmation, stressing that there are potential contradictions in statements made by various stakeholders.

HURIWA further stated; “A prominent concern is the disparity between Minister Musawa’s assertion of having successfully concluded her service and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) counter-claim that she is currently engaged in active service.

“This discrepancy, if substantiated, further intensifies the ongoing controversy because NYSC had officially confirmed that she is serving now and has served for eight months out of twelve months.

“The matter of Minister Musawa’s eligibility for public office has not only ignited a national discourse but also raised legal concerns regarding adherence to the Nigerian Constitution and the NYSC Act.

“While acknowledging Minister Musawa’s apparent dedication to both her national service and her ministerial responsibilities, a pivotal question emerges: Do her concurrent roles align with the established legal framework as outlined in the NYSC Act and the Nigerian Constitution?
“The unprecedented nature of this situation in Nigeria’s history adds complexity to the matter. The NYSC Act, designed to foster national unity and involve young citizens in the nation’s progress, explicitly outlines participation requirements. Section 2 mandates that all citizens under 30 years of age who have graduated from tertiary institutions, both within and outside Nigeria, must fulfill a mandatory one-year national youth service. Notably, Section 13 of the Act stipulates penalties for non-compliance.

“Furthermore, the Nigerian Constitution specifies qualifications and disqualifications for public office. Specifically, Section 147(6) states that a person can not be appointed a Minister of the Federation unless eligible for election as a member of the House of Representatives. This connection between the criteria for ministerial appointments and legislative roles raises pertinent questions.”

“This discrepancy has led to substantial legal discussions about the feasibility of simultaneously occupying the roles of a serving corps member and a minister. Notable constitutional experts have questioned the compatibility of these dual roles and the potential precedents they might set. Femi Falana (SAN), a prominent legal scholar, contended that an active corps member may lack the necessary competency for political or governmental positions that require trust and public service.

“In a statement titled: ‘A Youth Corps Member is not competent to be a Minister in Nigeria’, Falana said that a person who is disqualified by law to be a lawmaker is also disqualified to be appointed as a minister. The Constitution appears to have set the same qualifications and disqualifications for the two offices. Specifically, section 147(6) of the Constitution provides 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.

“Continuing, Falana emphasized that a person who did not participate in the national youth service is not qualified to be a member of the House of Representatives In the same vein, a person who has not completed the compulsory one-year youth service is not competent to be appointed a Minister in Nigeria since the Constitution has prescribed the same qualifications and disqualifications for election into the House of Representatives and appointment into the post of a Minister”.

Given the legal complexities at play, HURIWA reiterated its call for an exhaustive, impartial investigation into the legality of Minister Musawa’s dual roles. The organization underscored the critical need to uphold the principles of the law, transparency, and accountability to safeguard the integrity of public office and the governance process.

The rights organisation also expressed concerns about potential transparency violations if Minister Musawa had failed to disclose her ongoing NYSC service during her ministerial screening.

HURIWA, therefore, called on the embattled Musawa to quit one of the national services, adding that a transparent and independent investigation remains steadfast.

It stressed that the outcomes of an inquiry would shed light on the legality of dual roles and the potential implication for Nigeria’s democratic principles and governance integrity.

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Untold Story of Minister Hannatu Musawa’s NYSC Saga




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The NYSC certificate saga involving Minister Hannatu Musawa has a way more complex background than is currently known to the public, PREMIUM TIMES found.

More facts have emerged about the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) status of the Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa.

Ms Musawa has for weeks been in the eye of the storm for failing, during her confirmation hearing at the Nigerian senate, to provide evidence that she participated in the mandatory national youth service programme after her graduation from the university.

That controversy deepened in the past days following the disclosure by the NYSC that the minister is currently undergoing her national youth service, sparking calls by her critics that she should vacate office.

But PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report today that Ms Musawa’s national service saga has a longer history and is far more complicated than is publicly known.

A review of a cache of documents and interviews with people familiar with the matter revealed that Ms Musawa and NYSC authorities had battled for at least three years over her real NYSC status and a withheld certificate.

While the lawyer claimed she completed her national service in 2003 and should be issued the withheld certificate, the NYSC claimed she absconded midway into her service. After the years-long back and forth failed to produce results, Ms Musawa then opted to be remobilised to serve out whatever period of time the NYSC believes is outstanding for her. “We advised her to sue the NYSC over the matter,” an associate of the minister told PREMIUM TIMES. “But she refused, saying she preferred a peaceful resolution of the matter.”

An NYSC discharge certificate issued in Ms. Musawa’s name in 2003 exists and is in the custody of the Corps, according to documents seen by this newspaper. However, authorities are withholding the document after accusing her of absconding at a point during her service year. On her part, Ms. Musawa said the NYSC was not diligent and careful enough in its search for her record and that she was not accorded a fair hearing to prove that she did not abscond.

Ms Musawa, an inferno, and the search for a certificate

In 2020, former President Muhammadu Buhari nominated her for appointment as the national commissioner representing Nigeria’s northwest geopolitical zone on the board of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM).

In preparing for her screening by the Senate, Ms. Musawa wrote the NYSC through its Kaduna State coordinator requesting the replacement of her NYSC certificate.

According to her, the NYSC certificate was part of the documents that got burnt in an inferno that razed her Asokoro residence in 2019.

“Last year, on Saturday, 14th September 2019, at approximately 5:52 p.m., a fire broke out in my house at No 15, Justice Lawal Uwais Street, Asokoro, Abuja Many of my documents were lost in the fire, including which was my NYSC certificate,” she wrote in the letter dated 30 September 2020. “Therefore, I am writing to apply for the replacement of my NYSC Certificate that was lost in the fire incident.”

The Kaduna State NYSC searched for Ms Musawa’s records in its certificate issuance registers but did not find any matching information. The State Coordinator, Isa Wana, therefore, forwarded Ms Musawa’s request to the Corps Certification Department at the NYSC headquarters in Abuja.

Hannatu Musa Musawa

“Her details could not be found in any of our certificate issuance registers of 2001, 2002 and 2003. She could not also remember her state code number and place of primary assignment for ease of further investigation,” Mr Wana wrote in a letter dated 7 October 2020 to the NYSC certificate department.

Days after Mr Wana’s letter to the NYSC headquarters, the corps certification department found Ms Musawa’s NYSC certificate, indicating that she never collected the certificate and that it did not get burnt in her home.

However, because she had claimed in her letters to the NYSC and obtained a police report that the certificate was part of the destroyed properties in the fire that gutted her home, the NYSC declined to issue her the certificate.

The NYSC also accused her of absconding during her service year as it could not find her details in the Kaduna State office where she claimed to have completed her service. Her failure to get the NYSC certificate at the time ultimately led to her disqualification for the PENCOM appointment in November 2020.

Now aware that her certificate is in the custody of the Corps, Ms. Musawa continued to push for its release. In letters to the NYSC, she insisted that she duly completed the NYSC in Kaduna, where she was redeployed after serving for five months in Ebonyi state.

Documents seen by PREMIUM TIMES showed that the minister was called up for national service in September 2002 and posted to the Ministry of Justice, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. Five months into the service year, in February 2003, she was redeployed to Kaduna State.

The NYSC insisted there is no record that the then corps member continued her service after redeploying to Kaduna. But Ms. Musawa said the corps only needed a further careful search for her records in Ebonyi and Kaduna to determine the authenticity of her claims that she completed her service. She also pleaded to be given an opportunity to provide documents, including copies of letters from Manema Universal Limited in Kaduna, her NYSC employer during the last part of her service year.

In December 2020, Ms. Musawa wrote to the NYSC governing board, asking that the board intervene by giving her a fair hearing regarding the matter. But in a 17 March 2021 reply, the Board said her case had been declared closed, and no further search of her documents was necessary. “The board prays that you accept its decision in good faith and that this becomes the end of this matter as far as the NYSC is concerned,” the letter, signed by Board Secretary Abdullahi Jikamshi, said.

Despite this verdict by the NYSC Board, Ms. Musawa did not relent in the push for her certificate. In August 2022, Ms. Musawa wrote a 10-page letter to the then Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, detailing her ordeal. She pleaded for the review of the NYSC’s decision on her service status and the withholding of her certificate. “My reputation, future, career and integrity could be eroded if this matter is not properly handled,” she wrote in the letter, a copy of which this newspaper obtained.

She claimed she was never accorded a fair hearing throughout the period of the appeal to get her NYSC certificate. According to her, the NYSC repeatedly made the mistake of searching for the wrong call-up number. Instead of NYSC/LAW/2001/405353, she said the NYSC continued to search for NYSC/LAW/2001/405351. The mistake in the call-up number search was made from the Kaduna State office of the NYSC where the search began, she said.

Ms. Musawa also maintained that she completed her NYSC service at Manema Universal Limited in Kaduna but did not collect her certificate at the time because of an illness. “I completed the service in September 2003 and obtained my clearance but didn’t attend the passing-out ceremony at NYSC due to illness,” she said.

She added that she applied for the replacement of the certificate because she believed she had collected the certificate. “At the time I made the application for certificate replacement to the NYSC, I was under the honest and genuine belief that I had collected my certificate at the end of the service year since it was 17 years ago,” she added.

Ms Musawa also told then Minister Dare that “The DG NYSC has been acting on the information he has received without giving me an opportunity to be heard and, thus, has made conclusions that remain detrimental to my future even and most especially beyond the present assignment.

“From all indications, it would appear that the DG NYSC has become sentimental and ceases to be impartial in this matter. It is clear that I have not received a fair hearing and fair consideration from him in the least bit. Thus, I pray that all actions taken therein by the DG NYSC in this matter should be reversed as prejudicial and the whole matter reconsidered dispassionately by another objective body or person.

An unyielding Musawa Plea and a remobilisation

However, her appeal to Minister Dare for a reconsideration of her case did not produce the result she desired. Nonetheless, she continued her push to collect her service certificate, her associates said. When it became clear that she was not making any headway, she then requested to be allowed to reenroll for whatever number of months the NYSC believed was outstanding on her service year.

The Director of Press and Public Relations of the NYSC, Eddy Megwa, told DAILY TRUST Ms Musawa was remobilised and had been participating in the national youth service scheme for the past eight months in Abuja.

Her associates say having done an extra eight months of national service in Abuja, in addition to the five she did in Ebonyi, the embattled minister can be said to have completed her one-year service. “She even overstayed in service,” one associate said, asking not to be named because he was not authorised to discuss the matter with the media.

PREMIUM has not been able to independently verify that claim. Ms. Musawa and Mr Megwa, the NYSC spokesperson, did not answer or return calls made to their known telephone numbers seeking their comments for this story.

What NYSC law says

Established by Decree number 24 of 2 May 1973, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was created for “proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of national unity”.

The decree, which mandates all Nigerians who graduate from a university in or outside Nigeria to undergo the programme for a period of 12 months, has, however, been reviewed by the legislature since the return to democracy.

According to Section 2(2) of the NYSC Act (2004), the only excluded Nigerians from the mandatory participation in the scheme are those who attained the age of 30 before their date of graduation, those who served in the Nigerian armed forces or the Police for more than nine months, staff of Nigerian security organisations, and those conferred with national honours.

Born on 1 November 1974, Ms. Musawa graduated from the University of Buckingham and the Nigerian Law School before age 30 and is therefore eligible for national service.

Culled from Premium times

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Expert says only 20% of women in Jigawa practice exclusive breastfeeding




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By Maryam Alabira, Dutse

The Nutrition Manager of the United Nations Children Education Fund, (UNICEF), Field Office Kano, Alhadji Diop has indicated that only 20% of women in Jigawa practice exclusive breastfeeding
Diop who made the disclosure at the launch of the 2023 World breast feeding week held in Dutse, Jigawa State said breastfeeding is crucial not only for the children but also for the lactating mothers.

He said inline with the theme of the 2023 breastfeeding week “Enabling Breastfeeding-Making a Difference for Working Parents”, the policy makers need to respect the directive.

“Breastfeeding is not only a natural and beautiful act but also crucial for the health and well-being of children and mothers.

“It is essential to reflect on the progress we have made so far and the strides that still lies ahead in supporting our working parents”, he added.

He requested the Jigawa state government to address and promote breastfeeding support in workplace through extend paid maternity leave for government employees from the current 3-6 months.

He stressed that there is need for working parents to have provision of lactation rooms/creches in all Mimistries, Deoartments and Agencies.

“We can create a supportive environment that enables breastfeeding, fosters working life balance and ensure the health and happiness of our families”, Rihod said.

The Director of the Primary Health care Agency, Dr Ibrahim Kabiru, listed the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding to include healthy child throughout his or her life.

“The child will grow with little or no diarrhea or vomiting as well as other illnesses. They will not have obesity, caugh or diabities when he or she grows up.

He said mothers who practice exclusive breastfeeding also have benefits such as prevention of breast cancer, uterus cancer and other breast diseases.

“In Jigawa state only 20% of women practice exclusive breastfeeding and about 80% of them do not breastfeed for more than four months without mixing with water”, Kabiru said.

The wife of the Jigawa state Governor, Hajiya Hadiza Umar Namadi in her speech expressed concern over the inadequate knowledge on exclusive breastfeeding by women generally in the state.

The Jigawa first lady observed that early return to work after child birth and lack of conducive breastfeeding environment for the working mothers constitute major problem for the new born babies.

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