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Absolute Disgrace…As NBA-SPIDEL Sues Minister, Hannatu Musawa Over Youth Service Violations

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In the grand theater of Nigerian politics, where the acts and scenes unfold with Shakespearean complexity, the latest drama casts the Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, in a role she never auditioned for.

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), an entity more accustomed to the hallowed halls of justice than the dramatic arts, has filed a suit against Musawa, alleging a violation of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Act. This legal tussle, set against the backdrop of Nigeria’s intricate legal system, is more than just a lawsuit; it’s a narrative steeped in irony and symbolism.

Musawa, a figure who straddles the worlds of law and culture, finds herself in a peculiar predicament. As a lawyer, her understanding of the law is expected to be impeccable, her adherence to its tenets unquestionable. Yet, here she is, embroiled in a controversy that hinges on the very laws she is sworn to uphold. This situation mirrors the age-old adage: “No one is above the law,” yet it unfolds with a twist that is uniquely Nigerian.

The stage for this legal drama is the Federal High Court in Abuja, where the NBA, through its public interest and development law arm (NBA-SPIDEL), has leveled serious allegations against the Culture Minister. The plaintiffs, John Aikpokpo-Martins and Funmi Adeogun of the NBA-SPIDEL, contend that Musawa’s mobilization for the mandatory one-year national youth service after exceeding the age of 30 contravenes the NYSC Act. The national service, a rite of passage for many Nigerian youths, symbolizes a commitment to the nation’s development and the ethos of service. Musawa’s alleged circumvention of this rite raises questions about the sanctity of these national values.

The plaintiffs’ call for Musawa’s removal from her ministerial position is akin to a dramatic denouement, where the consequences of one’s actions are laid bare for all to see. They argue that by flouting the NYSC Act, Musawa has not only violated legal statutes but has also breached the unwritten code of public service ethics. This legal entanglement is more than just a case; it’s a mirror reflecting the sometimes-blurred lines between legality, morality, and public responsibility.

In this unfolding drama, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria has also played its part, accusing the minister of serving concurrently as a minister and a youth corps member. This allegation, if true, paints a picture of a dual role that is as conflicting as it is controversial.

With the way the wind is blowing, Minister Musawa has more than HRWAN to contend with. Whispers within the eminent sanctum suggest she is in a world of trouble and might be used as a sacrificial lamb. As the NBA begins a campaign to sanitize the profession, one wonders if the powers that be might succumb to the pressure to make a move before the court does.
-Bolaji Ekundayo

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