NYSC Director General risks imprisonment over Court contempt
The Director-General (DG) of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier-General Yusha’u Ahmed, may be imprisoned over alleged disobedience to court order, if the Federal High Court, Abuja, grants the prayers of Enugu State governor, Dr. Peter Mbah.
Mbah made the prayer in a Form 49 filed through his lawyer, Emeka Ozoani, SAN, before Justice Inyang Ekwo.
The application dated June 22 was filed the same day in accordance with Order IX, Rule 13, Judgment Enforcement Rules of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act, CAP. S6, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The governor alleged that Brig-Gen Ahmed flouted the order of the court made on May 15, restraining him or his agency from issuing, publishing or continued to issue, publish disclaimer to the effect that the NYSC discharge certificate of national service dated January 6, 2003, with certificate number: A808297, was not issued by the NYSC.
Form 48 attached to application reads: “Take notice that unless you obey the directions contained in this order, you will be quilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison.”
However, contrary to the order, the NYSC DG had during an interview on Arise News Channel’s “Morning Show” on May 19 alleged that Mbah’s NYSC discharge certificate was not issued by the Scheme.
Consequently, the governor filed Form 49 praying the court to commit the DG to prison for contempt of court.
“The plaintiff apply to this court for an order for your committal to prison for having disobeyed the order of this court,” it reads in part.
Although the matter was scheduled for Friday, June 23, 2023 for motion, the court did not sit.
Consequently, the case was adjourned until July 4.
Mbah had sued the NYSC and its Director, Corps Certification, Mr Ibrahim Muhammad, for publishing a disclaimer, denying the issuance of a discharge certificate issued to him on January 6, 2003.
Consequently, Justice Ekwo on May 15 made an order restraining the NYSC, Muhammad and any of their agents from engaging in such publication pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.
The order followed an ex-parte motion moved by Mbah’s counsel, Mr Ozoani.
The judge, however, did not grant the second prayer, saying it was far-reaching.
Ozoani had brought the motion under Section 13(1) & (2) of the FHC Act Cap F12, Vol. 6, Law of Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and Order 26 Rule 6(1) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019.
The motion ex-parte was predicated on 10 grounds.
Mbah averred that after graduating in Law from the University of East London in 2000, retuned to Nigeria and as a pre-requisite to practice as Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, applied and was admitted into the Bar Part 1 programme of the Nigerian Law School.
Mbah said upon completing the Bar part 1 exam, he had to wait for the Bar part 2 programme, and was advised that instead of spending time idling around, he should proceed to the mandatory one-year NYSC programme.
He said he was called up for NYSC and was deployed initially to Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Apapa in Lagos for his primary assignment but was rejected by NPA, before securing the law firm of Ude & Associates.
“The plaintiff in the course of his service year and after six months of NYSC, applied and was granted approval to defer the NYSC in order to enable him complete the bar final exam.
“Thereafter, the plaintiff was remobilised to finish the NYSC programme, which he did complete,” he stated.
Mbah further averred in the Motion that upon completion of the NYSC, he was issued the certificate of National Service No. A.808297 dated January 6, 2003.
But, in a preliminary objection dated and filed on May 22 by the 1st and 2nd defendants, they prayed for an order dismissing or striking out the suit for want of jurisdiction and competence.
Recall that Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was declared the winner of the Enugu State governorship election held on March 18 2023 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).