FOLLOWING an investigation by ICIR into how corps members falsify medical fitness certificates and reports, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Director General Ibrahim Shuaib has promised to address the issue.
Shuaibu, who was represented by the Director of the Department of Welfare and Body Health Services, Omotade Ayodele Folorunso, made the promise during an anti-corruption radio show, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, hosted by the organization in Progressive Impact for Community Development (PRIMORG), Wednesday in Abuja.
Folorunso noted that although the NYSC has made efforts to ensure that forged documents are not received from corps members in camps across the country, many people still circumvent the system.
“NYSC has many measures in place to clean up and ensure that due process is followed in the way we do our things.
“For potential corps members, our routine operations to ensure that anyone who comes to camp is genuine, we have a team at the gate that includes NYSC officials, a team that includes members of the Nigerian Army, from the NSCDC, the DSS, pharmacists, doctors, nurses, technologists from all walks of life are there.
“I have to let you know that in the camp there are different degrees of sickness that we don’t allow them to stay in the camp, but let me also let you know that there is no human effort which is 100% perfect,” he said.
He expressed disappointment that potential corps members are ignoring due process and obtaining bogus medical documents and assignments.
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He noted that this development was a reflection of the high level of corruption that plagued the country.
“We’re not going to sit here and say we ignore the fact that people or potential body members are going online to get fake medical reports. Of course we are aware. Not only that,[including] secondment contracts.
“The fact remains that as responsible citizens and graduates of the universities and polytechnics with which we deal, having acquired such a high level of education, you should know that the legitimate place to transact your business regarding NYSC is very clear. If these people are now neglecting all these mediums and turning to fake sources to procure any services, it is quite unfortunate,” he added.
Folorunsho explained that body members caught with false documents in the past were handed over to the Nigerian police for prosecution and accused the parents of aiding and abetting corruption in the NYSC scheme.
“We collaborate with virtually all relevant government agencies, and the Federal Ministry of Health is one particular collaborating agency that we deal with. When the culprits are arrested, we turn them over to the police, which is under the administration of the NYSC. We have the regulations that guide us,” he said.
READ the survey: How Corps members falsify medical documents, pretend to be sick to circumvent NYSC protocols
Folorunso also blamed the Ministry of Health for the proliferation of fake medical documents insisting that it is their responsibility to oversee hospitals.
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“Nigeria is a wonderful country where anyone can come and want to circumvent the system. You can’t rule that out. If we were able to identify the location of the racketeering, this information should be passed on to the appropriate authority.
“This information should be passed to the Ministry of Health to see why it is so easy to process medical certificates with just a token, because they are the ones who supervise hospitals. Why would anyone get a medical certificate with just a fee without taking a test.
“Let us re-examine our value system in the country. And for young people, the fact that leaders have failed does not mean that young people cannot also be on the side of good integrity,” he added.
For her part, Mary Ogwiji, legal adviser and director of the Gender Inclusion and Yes Project Initiative, said that the problem of tampering is caused by the breakdown of general law and order in the country, as well as the inability of the system to prosecute the culprits effectively.
Ogwiji, who also said he served in 2018, blamed the NYSC for the lack of proper supervision at orientation camps and called on the organization to implement strict measures that will prevent corps members from getting away with it. with false medical documents.
“I went through NYSC myself. I know we normally have these people at the door, but they’re not as efficient as they should be,” she said.
“Someone needs to ask the NYSC what they did about the people they picked up. Although under NYSC Bylaws Section 16 it says that anyone who tampers with a certificate will be turned over to the police for proper prosecution, now the question is whether the NYSC reports the increase in cases of false certificates.
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She added that any act of forgery carries heavy penalties in accordance with the provisions of Section 467 of the Nigerian Constitution and other relevant provisions.
Also speaking at the event, PRIMORG’s Chidozie Ogbonnaya advised the NYSC to ensure medical certificates are affixed with NMA stamps to affirm their authenticity.