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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

How female corps member sued NYSC, forced replacement of husband’s name with father’s

How female corps member sued NYSC, forced replacement of husband’s name with father’s

A Muslim corps member from Adamawa State, Aisha Saneeya Abdulhamid, has succeeded in forcing Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to recognize her right to retain her maiden surname, rejecting the forceful change that she said the Corps foisted on her on account of her marriage.

Aisha, who is married to a Zaria-based lawyer, Abubakar Suleiman, was mobilised for the NYSC by the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID)from where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Education/Biology.

Nigerian Sketch gleaned from the court that UNIMAID mobilized her in her real name; Aisha Saneeya Abdulhamid, but the NYSC – without her consent – decided to compulsorily change her name by removing her surname and replacing it with the name of her husband.

She was therefore compulsorily registered as “Suleiman, Aisha Saneeya” as opposed to “Abdulhamid, Aisha Saneeya.”

She protested to the NYSC, insisting that she had never intended to change her name and that it was even against her religious practice.

The NYSC replied that they replaced her surname because she was married, and that it was its to register married women with their husband’s surname, so her application for correction of name was disapproved officials.

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She got posted to Kaduna State where her registration at the Orientation Camp became an issue. The registration process was stalled on the ground that the Newspaper publication dated the 15th day of July, 2022 in which she notified the Scheme of marriage status was wrong because, according to the officials, she must replace her surname in the newspaper publication with her husband’s name.

When she insisted that her religious belief forbade her to replace her father’s name with her husband’s, she said she was asked to choose between her religious belief and her participation at the compulsory NYSC scheme.

Even the presence of her husband and little son failed to convince the NYSC official to register her.

According to her in her affidavit, she was literally forced to make another publication against her wish removing her real surname and replacing same with her husband’s name.

She instructed her lawyers to write a letter of complaint to the NYSC, requesting for her name to be reversed to its original form, which she said was received but neglected.

READ ALSO: Nigeria authenticates Niger’s Annahda University, to accept graduates for NYSC

At the completion of her service, she was issued a discharge certificate the bore the name Aisha Saneeya Suleiman which was force upon her.

Court reliefs

She therefore approached the Federal High Court, Abuja to seek for the following reliefs:

  1. A declaration of court that the act of the Respondents of changing/substituting the Applicant’s surname with that of her husband’s name without any justification is unconstitutional, unlawful and infringement to Applicant’s right to freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination and the applicant is therefore entitled to general and exemplary damages from the 1st and 2nd Respondents jointly and severally.
  2. An order directing the 2nd Respondent to correct the Applicant’s name on the 1st Respondent Portal and by reflecting the same correction on all the Applicant’s credentials with 1st Respondent forthwith.
  3. An order directing the Respondents to reflect the correct Applicant’s name, AISHA SANEEYA ABDULHAMID on the NYSC Certificate to be issued at the end of the Applicant’s service.
  4. An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st and 2nd Respondents jointly and severally whether personally or through their agents from further tempering with the Applicant’s name.
  5. An order of this Court awarding the sum of N20, 000,000.00 (Twenty Million Naira) as general and exemplary damages in favour of the Applicant against the 1st and 2nd Respondents jointly and severally.
  6. An order of this court directing the 1st and 2nd Respondents to tender public apology to the Applicant in respect of this matter to be published in two (2) national dailies stating her correct names.

Settlement

When the case came up for hearing on the 10th day of June, 2024 before Hon Justice J.O. Abdulmalik, the court was told that Aisha and the NYSC have reached an agreement and decided to settle the matter amicably.

A document seen by Nigerian Sketch at the court showed that Consent Judgment was entered in the case with the following terms:

That the NYSC will retrieve the certificate issued to her on the 19th day of July 2023 bearing Suleiman Aisha Saneeya, and issue her a new certificate that will bear her real name – Aisha Saneeya Abdulhamid. It was agreed that the initial certificate cannot be retrieved until the new one is ready. She agreed to forgo all the monetary claimed she filed for.

Some of the lawyers that represented Aisha are Abubakar Suleiman, Kazeem Azeez Oyinwola and M. N. Aliyu, while O.P. Omuru represented the NYSC, its Director General and the its directorate.

 

 

 

*This story was updated to show that the case was filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja

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