Appeal court upholds constitutionality of NYSC programme
The Court of Appeal Ibadan division has upheld the constitutionality of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) Act, saying it is not an infringement of right of personal liberty.
The court in a judgment obtained by The Guardian upheld the validity and constitutionality of the NYSC Act in an appeal filed by Mr. Oluwole Aluko against the President and the Attorney General of the Federation.
Mr. Aluko, a lawyer, had dragged the Federal Government to court over the constitutionality of the NYSC scheme, urging it to hold that the scheme was inconsistent with the 1999 Constitution.
He argued that the NYSC programme constituted a threat to right to life, liberty and amounted to forced labour and slavery, and should be scrapped.
But the federal high court dismissed the suit on the ground that the plaintiff has no locus standi to institute the action.
Displeased with the decision of the lower court, Aluko proceeded on appeal. But Justice Nonyerem Okoronkwo dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.
The appellate court agreed with the submissions of Prof.Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), counsel to the president, that there can be no inconsistent provisions of the constitution itself, and held that the NYSC Act was a part of the constitution by virtue of Section 315 (5).
It held that since the constitution was the supreme law of the land and the validity of all laws was measured by their reference to it; the NYSC Act having been incorporated into the constitution could not be said to be inconsistent with the constitution or any provisions thereof.
The court stated that the NYSC Act could not be abrogated except by an alteration of the constitution in the manner specified in Section 9(2).
Besides, the court held that the Appellant lacked locus standi to maintain the action, and had failed to show that the NYSC Act was inconsistent with sections 33 and 35 pertaining to right to life and liberty or “was in anyway inimical to the life or good livelihood” of Nigerians.