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Rape, Death of Keren: Premiere Academy Moves To Cow The Media, Sues AIT for reports

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In what appears to be a strategy to force a media blackout on reports concerning the rape and eventual death of a -14 year old boarding student of Premiere Academy, Lugbe, Abuja, Miss Keren-Happuch Aondodoo Akphagher, the school has threatened to sue the African Independent Television for giving publicity to her mother, Mrs Vivien Vihimga Akphagher.

Keren-Happuch died on the 22nd of June 2021 after developing sepsis as a result of the infection caused by the condom left inside her by her rapist, which compromised her immunity, spiked her blood sugar resulting to hyperglycaemia.

Following Keren-Happuch’s death, Premiere Academy, Lugbe, Abuja has been the subject of an on-going investigation as her mother, Mrs. Akpagher had immediately filed a formal complaint against the school, alleging that her daughter had been sexually abused at the school, which led to her death.

Last year, leader of the Coalition of Gender Based Violence Responders, Lemmy Ughegbe had accused Premiere Academy had accused Premiere Academy of trying to intimidate into silence by filing a N500 million defamation suit against him at an Abuja High Court for delivering a rousing speech at the law week of the Nigeria Bar Association, Abuja Branch.

The school was miffed by the fact that Ughegbe called on the lawyer’s not to remain mere bystanders, but to join the Coalition and Keren’s family in seeking justice for Keren.

In what seem to be a strategy, the school has now issued a – two day ultimatum to the management of AIT to apologize for reporting the civil action filed by Mrs Vivien Vihimga Akphagher, wherein she sued it (Premiere Academy) for N10 Billion for negligence and failure of the duty of care to her daughter, which led to her being raped in the boarding school facility, where she was resident.

In a letter from the chambers of Chief Adegboyega Solomon Awomolo (SAN) dated March 22, 2021, they demanded that AIT within 48 hours pulls down the said report from all their social media handles, apologize for the said report, undertake not to publish such report about the Keren-Happuch Case in future and pay N1 Billion to it as damages for the said report, which they term defamatory and libelous.

As at the time of filing that report, it is unclear whether or not AIT will be intimidated into silence and a black-out of reports concerning Keren-Happuch Aondodoo Akphagher even though the station has a reputation for enthroning soci.justice.

When contacted for comment on the threatened legal action against AIT, the Coalition leader and renowned Child and Gender Rights Advocate, Lemmy Ughegbe said it was a cheap tactics aimed at silencing the media, expressing the confidence that AIT will not succumb to their cheap bullying.

“I am not surprised at the underwhelming tactics by the school. They have sought to intimidate and bully me and the mother of the late child into silence by using various means. They even sued me for speaking at the Law Week and asking Nigerian lawyers to join me in seeking justice for Keren-Happuch. Their tactics is to intimidate and feed the public with falsehood. If they couldn’t intimidate me an ordinary individual into silence, is it television giant with a reputation for pursuing the good of society through the seeking of truth and justice that they will intimidate into silence?”

“Remember we have been asking them for CCTV footages of 15th and 16th of June 2021? Those footàges will expose what happened to Keren-Happuch in their school, where they have 54 CCTV cameras. We are asking these questions and because they don’t want the Nigerian press to expose this, they are seeking to bully them especially AIT into silence. It will not work”, Ughegbe added.

Amnesty International on last week called on the House of Representatives to immediately commence investigative public hearing into the rape and death of Keren-Happuch in compliance with their resolution of December 7, 2021 to do so

It will be recalled that in the suit filed by Mrs Akpagher, which reportage by AIT is the cause of the threatened legal action by Premiere Academy, she had sued the school as a corporate entity and its owners, including former Managing Director of Skye Bank, Mr. Akinsola Akifemiwa before an Abuja High Court, demanding for over ten billion naira.

.Speaking at a press conference organised in Abuja, Mrs Akpagher said she brought the suit against Premiere Academy Ltd, Dr. Omotayo Akinfemiwa, Chief M.K Osuma, AAGMR Ltd (represented by Akinsola Akinfemiwa), Premiere Eye Center Ltd ( represented by Akinsola Akinfemiwa), Mr. Christopher Akinsowon, Mrs Grace Salami and Nurse Lois Bung as 1st to 8th Defendants.

She said all she expects is a school that is apologetic and takes responsibility for the rape and death of her child, stating that if they were honourable enough to do so, she would drop the matter.

“But the way they are going, if they are not ready to take responsibility, we shall see this case to the end, so that it doesn’t happen to another child, she stated.

In the instant suit, she has also prayed the court for “an order restraining the defendants by themselves, their agents and privies from threatening the Plaintiff and her allies in respect of this suit, during and after the trial.”

The Plaintiff is praying the court for the following reliefs:

· A declaration that the negligence of the Defendants caused the Plaintiff’s daughter’s Keren –Happuch Aondodoo Akpagher death on the 22nd day of June 2021.

· A declaration that the acts of the defendants, who owed the Duty of Care to Plaintiff’s daughter, were negligent and this led to her death as a result of rape, sexual abuse and molestation which happened under their care.

· A declaration that the acts of the defendants who instructed the 8th defendant to administer dexamethasone (a steroid) on Keren –Happuch Aondodoo Akpagher exacerbated her underlining illness: “diabetes” and this led to her death.

· A declaration that the defendants’ failure to apprehend the perpetrator or allow the due process of the law to be carried out on time in other to fish out the perpetrator who is within their vicinity have intentionally inflicted the plaintiff with emotional distress, mental distress and nervous breakdown.

She therefore prays the court to award to her:

· The sum of Ten Billion Naira damages against the defendants for the breach of duty of care and negligence which led to the death of Keren –Happuch Aondodoo Akpagher.

· Ten Million Naira for emotional, mental, psychological and physical stress on the plaintiff, caused by the painful death of her daughter at the hands of the defendants who owed her duty of care.

Ten million naira representing cost of Litigation.

In support of the reliefs sought by the plaintiff are a -61 paragraph statement of claims, wherein Mrs Akpagher painted a graphic picture of how she got a tip off from Keren’s House mother, Mrs. Rita Abejide to resist attempts by the matron not to allow her take her daughter away from the school, disclosing that the child was distraught and unable to walk on the 16th of June 2021 as she was in pain and had to be assisted to go to class.

She said despite her demand that the police retrieve CCTV footages of 15th and 16th of June 2021, which she knows discloses how her daughter was sexually abused and the identity of her abuser, the defendants have chosen to obstruct justice by concealing the said footages.

She explained how Keren eventually became critically ill the following day after returning home and she was rushed to the hospital on Monday, 21st of June 2021 in a bad state and that was when it was discovered by the medical team at Queen’s Clinic that her daughter had been sexually abused.

The plaintiff will rely on the test results, and the hospital reports and records of Queens Clinic, Wuse Abuja, which prove that condom was left inside of her late daughter and her urine contained dead spermatozoa.

The plaintiff states that “following the test results, she called the school management that is the 6th and 7th defendants at about 1pm on the 21/06/21 to come to the hospital, but never disclosed the findings. But before the management came, the plaintiff called a teacher in the 1st defendant, Mr. Chukwuka Okafor, whom she had never told what the hospital revealed and during their discussion, he prayed her daughter gets better and come back to school to which the plaintiff said she won’t be coming back and he said “don’t worry madam we will get to the bottom of it so that it does not happen to another child.”

The plaintiff states that her daughter died early hours of Tuesday 22/6/2021 from hyperglycemia triggered by sepsis resulting from the infection caused by the condom, which was left inside her and aided by the dexamethasone that was administered to her in the school clinic by her nurse Lois Bung which compromised her immunity. The plaintiff will rely on all the medical documents given to her by Queens Clinic Abuja in the course of trial.

The plaintiff states Lois Bung wrote a statement at the police stating that she had given Keren-Happuch 5 tablets of Dexamethasone (steroid) and 1 tablet of Loratadine (anti-allergy). These drugs given to her were not part of her routine drugs, and the defendants were negligent in not seeking her consent before administering such drugs to her daughter and never also deemed it fit to inform her that such drugs was administered to enable her take precaution and also inform the family doctor.

We give the the FCT Police Command Gender Department incharge of this matter the notice to produce the Statement of Lois Bung admitting that she administered the said drug to Keren-Happuch Akpagher.

The plaintiff states that the defendants ordered that dexamethasone be given to her daughter for sinister reasons because her daughter complaining of redness of the eye didn’t warrant such strong steroids like dexamethasone. The defendants knew that such medication would increase her daughter’s blood sugar levels and weaken her immunity which could lead to hyperglycemia. The defendants never gave her the medical records of her daughter even till date.

The plaintiff states that the condom and dead spermatozoa found in her daughter has no other indication except, rape, sexual molestation and sexual abuse of her daughter. This in combination with the high sugar and sepsis which led to her daughter’s death.

The plaintiff states that the failure of the defendants to seek consent from her who knows her daughter very well points to lack of respect and understanding of the child’s rights and of her’s as her mother.

The plaintiff states that she also handed over a transcription as well as a voice recording of her conversation with the Matron, Mrs. Grace Salami and the Head of Pastoral, Mr. Olusegun Adesanmi when they visited in the hospital on the 21st June, 2021.

The plaintiff states that the Command has not at any time intimated them of the progress of the investigation. The FCT Police command denied them of copies of the medical and autopsy reports but has released same to the school which they stated in some of their interviews in some newspapers including Eagleonline Publication of 13/09/21 and Punch Newspapers of 14/09/21. The plaintiff will rely on the said publication in the course of trial.

The plaintiff states that the acting principal of the school the 6th defendant stated in Thisday Newspaper of 9th of August 2021 that “if we had known there was a condom inside her, we would have removed it.” The plaintiff showed this piece of publication to the police, but they failed to act on it.

The plaintiff states that the FCT Command called her to the station to ask if the report they got from the school that my son told his friend who told his father I wasn’t taking good care of them was true. The police at the FCT Command also summoned the plaintiff to tell her that the school had asked them to get her daughter’s jotter, phone and bible from her because they think she might have written something in it – which she refused to submit.

The plaintiff states that because of the circumstances ad clinical evidences surrounding her daughter’s death she is convinced that all the defendants were aware, connived , concealed, aided in putting her daughter in the hands of men who sexually molest children on the premises of the 1st defendant.

The plaintiff states that her daughter has been in the 1st Defendant’s (the school) for over 3 years and has religiously been taking her injections without any problem. She has never been admitted in the hospital for one day and it is obvious its because of what the clinical test revealed and found in her as a result of sexual abuse and rape which happened under the supervision and care of the Defendants that led to her death.

The plaintiff states that the dead spermatozoa found in her daughter’s urine and the foreign body which she believes to be condom was inside her daughter prior to the 19th day of June 2021 when she picked her up from school. The plaintiff concludes that her daughter was going through trauma before and after she picked her up from the school on the 19th day of June 2021.

The plaintiff states that the dead spermatozoa belongs to a male who lives and/or works in the premises of the 1st to the 6th defendants. The dead spermatozoa means that her daufghter was raped and sexually abused prior to her coming home on the 19th of June 2021. The plaintiff will prove this in the course of trial through the witness of expert medical doctors.

The plaintiff states that at her sober moment she recalls the events that transpired within the four days her daughter fell sick that led to her death, why her daughter cried and begged to be taken home, was extremely sad the day the matron refused her leaving with her, and now understand why the school authorities prevented her from accessing her daughter earlier than when she finally did was all to cover up the trauma her daughter was going through in the hands of her abusers and molesters in the 1st defendant premises.

The plaintiff states that she has raised alarm on all quarters concerning the grave danger children are going through at the 1st defendant and some Civil Society Organisations have joined her to call for thorough investigation into the activities of the school that led to her daughter’s death.

The plaintiff states that within the past months after her daughter’s death some parents and students reached out to her confessing that some of their children were also sexually molested, abused and sodomized by male teachers of the 1st defendant. We will rely on the voice notes of one of the former student of Premiere Academy testifying to how she was sexually abused as a 13-year-old in the school and declaring that there were a number of men who molest children in the school. This voice note was given to the police, but they failed to act on it.

The plaintiff states that a letter of indefinite suspension issued to a former PHE teacher Mr. Onitilo K.K for sexually molesting a student who was never handed over to the police but released into the society by the defendants will be relied on in the course of trial.

The Plaintiff states that the defendants owed her daughter the duty of care and protection of which they failed woefully which eventually caused the death of her daughter. The defendants were negligent and breached that duty by failing to meet with their obligations, which has put her daughter in harm’s way.

The plaintiff states that her daughter was only 14 years old, a child, a minor whose care and protection was solely the responsibilities of the defendants because she was in the boarding facilities of the Defendants where she was raped, molested on several occasions which led to her death.

The plaintiff states that the person who molested, abused, raped and killed her daughter is well known to the defendants but they have decided to shield the person for reasons best known to them and for reasons they are all benefiting from.

The plaintiff states that she has asked the police to request from the defendants the CCTV footages of 15th and 16th June 2021 because she knows the said footages will reveal the identity of those who raped her daughter. The defendants have a huge secret to hide and that is why they refused to release the said footages.

The plaintiff states that the 7th defendant admitted that her daughter never came for her tests/injections on the 16th day of June 2021, the same day she was reported as not being able to walk to school without assistance for her test.

The plaintiff states that if the defendants were not benefitting from it they have no reason not to fish out the perpetrator and punish accordingly. They have obstructed investigation, connived with the law enforcement authorities to cover up the case.

The plaintiffs states that the defendants are using the police to harass and intimidate her and the civil society coalition spokes person Lemmy Ugegbe who has been on the front burner of this tragedy to make the police and the defendants to do the right thing by taking responsibility and bringing the pepertrators to book.

The plaintiff states that the school has written a petition against Mr. Lemmy Ughegbe and herself to the Inspector- General of Police citing Defamation and Provocation of Premiere Academy the defendants. They have been invited by the police on several occasions to intimidate them from putting media pressure to make the defendants to do the right thing. On the 16th day of February 2022, the police invitated Mr. Lemmy Ughebe again on the account of the defendants in other to shut him up , pressing thrumped up charges against him and the whole idea is to let backdown in supporting justice of this case.

The plaintiff states that she has written to the National Assembly for justie to be done and Hon. Mark Gbillah raised a motion (on Keren’s death) which was passed on the floor of the house on 7/12/21. The house has also resolved to constitute a panel that will address the issue via a public hearing when they resume in 2022. They have also directed that the IG should direct a DNA profiling of all the male staff that had worked in the school around the time of the incidence to match against the DNA that would be established from the foreign body taken out of her daughter.

The plaintiff states that they are afraid that they will continue to be intimidated even after this case as the defendants are influential and can use the police in their favour.

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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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