A civil society organisation, Accountable Leadership for Better Nigeria Initiative, ALBNI, has called on the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Chiji Collins, to come out clean on the real status of a Doctorate Degree and the rationale for obtaining an NYSC Exemption Certificate.
The CSO group called on Collins to explain the circumstances surrounding his exemption from participating in the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps programme after graduating from the university at an age below 30.
A statement by ALBNI executive director, Remi Adebayo, on Thursday, said Collins obtained a Higher National Diploma in Ceramics from the Institute of Art, Reggio Calabria in 1981 at the age of 24 as his official documents state that the speaker was born on October 27, 1957.
ALBNI therefore said that: “Collins is unqualified to enjoy an exemption from participating in the compulsory national youth service because he obtained the certificate ahead of his 30th birthday, which is a ground for which a graduate could be exempted according to the law.”
“Except Chidi Collins concealed his HND certificate, we are of the strong view that there was no ground other than which he could be issued the NYSC Exemption Certificate dated July 22, 1993. Should this be the case, it means Chiji Collins had lied under oath and must be brought to justice and sanctioned accordingly,” the group said.
It added: “ALBNI believes that the action portends deception, grave danger to transparency and slap to the NYSC law as the perpetrator could not have unilaterally undertake the act alone.
“Hence, we demand full investigation by the NYSC into the circumstances leading to the undue issuance of the exemption certificate, in a bid to unveil the motive and identify the culprits for prosecution to serve as deterrence to other would-be offenders.”
Also, the group pointed out that Mr Collins was conferred with ‘Laurea di Dottore’ from an Italian institution, the basis for which he affixes Ph.D title to his name, saying; “We find this misleading, knowing that the Nigerian equivalent of ‘Laurea di Dottore’ is a Bachelor Degree and not Doctorate in rank.”