A Civil Society Organisation (CSO), the Transparency and Integrity Crusaders, has insisted that Joi Nunieh, the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has no valid discharge or exemption certificate from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) In a statement signed by Dr. Ekpo Emmanuel Bassey, Executive Director of Transparency and Integrity Crusaders, the NGO said “Our position remains that Joi Nunieh does not have a valid NYSC discharge certificate or a valid Exemption certificate. Joi Nunieh has not denied this. We cannot have someone with questionable credentials to be in charge of a critical Government institution as the NDDC. She addresses herself as Dr Joi Nunieh. ….
The statement from Dr Ekpo Bassey was released on Sunday January 26th 2020 twenty four hours after the group raised the alarm on Nunieh’s alleged fake NYSC certificate. It was triggered by the reaction of an unnamed source at NDDC who said the allegation was false. The group challenged the ‘source’ to provide proof of the acting MD’s NYSC certificate, adding that it will mobilise public protest drive home its point. “We read the very watery response of Joi Nunieh to our challenge to her to publicly present her NYSC discharge certificate or exemption certificate for scrutiny. We challenge Joi Nunieh to publicly present her NYSC discharge certificate or exemption letter for scrutiny.”
Traditionally, all appointees of critical Government Institutions are under obligation to submit their certificates to Police Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) as well as the DSS for vetting / confirmation of their authenticity before they are confirmed for their offices. All university graduates eligible for National Service are expected to also show proof of National Service or exemption in lieu of it. The group alleges that Nunieh who was appointed head of a 3-man Interim Management Committee in October last year does not have the NYSC discharge certificate and has been “shielded from the public space due to the tacit support of a top Government Official who has been protecting her.”
According to Dr Bassey, “when the Federal Government announced the appointment of a new Board for the NDDC in August last year, all the nominees were invited to the FIB Headquarters in Garki Abuja for vetting. All the Board Nominees (including Joi Nunieh who was then the nominee as State Representative for Rivers State) reported to the FIB office on the 5th of September 2019 and were requested to submit copies of their educational qualifications and NYSC discharge certificate. Joi Nunieh pleaded to be allowed to go home to bring her documents including her NYSC discharge certificate. She has failed to provide the items for vetting till date. Investigation has revealed that she has been fraudulently parading a fake / forged NYSC discharge certificate over the years and is now afraid of providing the document now for scrutiny.”
The group says “that Nigerians are aghast at the attempts by collaborators to sweep this NYSC forged certificate saga of Joi Nunieh under the carpet, which has impugned on the reputation of President Muhammadu Buhari”, advising the president to order an investigation into the allegations. “We’re therefore calling on the President to direct the Inspector General of Police, Director General, Department of State Services, the ICPC to commence a holistic investigation and prosecute Joi Nunieh for forgery.
The group made reference to similar incidence involving former Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun due to non-possession of a valid NYSC discharge certificate and stated that the case of Joi Nunieh Ag NDDC MD cannot be different. The group vowed to mobilize a nationwide protest to demand the immediate removal of the Ag NDDC MD as a result of non-possession of a valid NYSC discharge certificate.
Meanwhile, the Vanguard reported that when acting NDDC MD was contacted, the NYSC certificate story was described as false, untrue and the handiwork of mischief makers.