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Scrapping NYSC amid Insecurities: Serving Corps Members Weigh-in

The NYSC was established on May 22, 1973. Photo Credit: Feather Impulse

Amid the recent cases of insecurity – especially kidnappings – in Nigeria, citizens are beginning to call for the scrapping of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). In a X poll conducted by West Africa Weekly concerning the netizens’ thoughts on scrapping NYSC, 77 percent of over 4704 votes “strongly agreed” that the scheme which was created in 1973 should be scrapped. Only 12 percent disagreed, while the remaining 11 percent chose to be neutral.

Source: X

As obvious and logical as the idea of scrapping NYSC might seem, it is important that we hear what serving corps members in different regions of the country feel about this trending issue.

“Scrapping it out will take Nigeria back to square zero” 

In an interview with West Africa Weekly, a serving corps member in Sokoto State, Olayinka Dada, asserted that scrapping NYSC because of insecurity will not solve the problem. The 23-year-old said that what the government should focus on is the problem itself – insecurity.

“NYSC came into existence for a reason: so that Nigerians from different parts of the country can stay together and to erase this tribalism war. So, scrapping it out will take Nigeria back to square Zero,” said Dada, who hails from Kabba/Bunu local government area in Kogi State.

He suggested that, if possible, when corps members are being posted, the government should choose particular days that the prospective corps members (PCMs) should move to their assigned camps over the country.

Then, “security agencies should be allocated to each route for that cause, just to make sure that all corps members get to their camp safely. And when they are leaving camp also, same strategy should be replicated. I think the Corpers will be fine,” Dada said.

“I feel like NYSC has lost its value”

On the contrary, another corps member interviewed did not waste time in saying that the NYSC scheme should be scrapped. The corps member, Faith Ojima is from Edo State and have gone halfway in her service in Kwara State.

“I feel like NYSC has lost its value,” she stated. “The main reason why the originators established NYSC, they are no more keeping that purpose and goal again.

“The purpose of NYSC is for integration, for people to go to different parts and mix up with different cultures. But now, people are working it out and going to the places they desire, if they have the money to pay for it. And then, the people who don’t have money are getting posted to these dangerous areas which is not fair,” Ojima complained.

She continued: “And then the recent security issues in the country. Travelling to some particular areas is becoming very risky now. Along the line, some people have lost their lives all in the name of serving their fatherland,” the 25-year-old corps member said.

The next stream (Batch A) of prospective corps members will be going to NYSC orientation camp come February, 2024. Photo Source: nyscnews.com

Ojima reiterated that NYSC should be scrapped because the “problem is too much,” starting from the corruption in the way the postings are being done, to the inadequate money corps members are being paid, to the security issues, and to how corps members are not posted to organisations related to what they studied in school.

“How will they post someone that studied mass communication to a school? What am I doing in a school? How will I be able to harness the skills and what I learnt in the university in a school?” she rhetorically asked.

“NYSC just has to be reshuffled”

Another corps member, Adams Usman, serving in Bauchi State told West Africa Weekly that NYSC “just has to be reshuffled.” Usman, 25, said that the scheme should not be scrapped because it helps in national unity.

The Yobe state indigene advised the government to crosscheck the scheme and provide necessary things for the corps members.

“…just end it”

Currently in her seventh month of serving in Edo State and coming from Abia State, Precious Abiayi said that to avoid reoccurrence of kidnappings, the government should “just end it (NYSC)” and bring up any other schemes like “employability training programmes” where youths will be taught world-needed skills.

 

The question of whether to scrap NYSC will perhaps continue to be controversial. It remains to see what the government would do in regard to the issue in the days to come.

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