ABUJA, DECEMBER 9, 2016 – A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed February 6, 2017 to rule in a suit challenging the legality of the mobilisation fee levelled on graduates shortlisted for the National Youth Service.
The plaintiff in the suit filed before Justice Jude Dagat is a rights advocacy organisation, Citizens Advocacy Initiative For Accountable Leadership; while the defendants are the Director-General, National Youth Service Corps; Sidmach Technologies Ltd; Minister of
Youths and Sports; and the Attorney General of the Federation.
The plaintiff is contending that the collection of N3,000 as mobilisation fee from each graduate before being posted for the National Youth Service by the NYSC was against the intent of the NYSC Act, “which makes it mandatory for prospective corps members to be compulsorily mobilised for service of their fatherland.”
The plaintiff alleged that the second defendant had, since 2014 when the mobilisation fee was introduced, collected over N1.3bn on behalf of the NYSC, without remitting any of its proceeds to the scheme or federation’s account.
It is seeking, among other reliefs, a court declaration that both the previous collection and continued collection of mobilisation fee from prospective corps members, is illegal, wrongful and improper.
It is also seeking a court order, directing the first and second defendants to immediately render account of all the monies so far collected from corps members, in form of mobilisation fee, since 2014.
The group also seeks an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the NYSC from further collecting any money from prospective corps members, as a pre-mobilisation or re-deployment fee.
At the hearing of the case on Friday, counsel for the second defendant, Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN), challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to hear the case and urged Justice Dagat to, on that basis, dismiss the suit.
He also challenged the plaintiff’s locus standi to file the suit, arguing that the plaintiff had not shown that it had suffered any hardship on account of the N3,000 mobilisation fee introduced by the NYSC
Besides, Ngige challenged the legal standing of the plaintiff, arguing that the group was unknown to law having not been properly incorporated pursuant to the Companies and Allied Matters Act.
He also argued that the suit was incompetent, having not complied with Section 20 of the NYSC Act, which requires such complaint to be forwarded in writing to the President, before a resort to litigation.
He, therefore, urged the court to strike out the suit as it failed to disclose sufficient cause of action.
The other defence counsel aligned themselves with Ngige’s arguments.
But the plaintiff’s counsel, Chief Dania Abdulahi, urged the court to dismiss the defendants’ preliminary objection to the suit, arguing that the plaintiff had sufficient cause of action.
Abdullahi argued that the Federal High Court was empowered by Section 254 of the Constitution to hear his client’s suit.
He also countered the argument that the plaintiff was unknown to law, arguing that Section 516 of the CAMA Act 1990 did not specifically require the use of the words “incorporated trustees” in filing a court action.
Abdullahi also argued that rather than objecting to the suit, the AGF, as the country’s chief law officer, should have shown concern about the mobilisation fee introduced by the NYSC, which he described as an unfair practice.
He urged Justice Dagat to dismiss the defendants’ objections to the suit and to award exemplary damages against them.
After hearing the parties out, Justice Dagat fixed February 6, 2017 for ruling.