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Are the youth corpers safe?

SIR: After graduation, the first thing that comes to mind is to go for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. Many prospective corps members that are connected usually get posted to their choice of state; not satisfied they also take further step by lobbying to stay in cities. Most corps members involve in this act because of the fear of the unknown, including at the moment that of communal violence.

The NYSC scheme involves posting of University and Polytechnic graduates for compulsory one year National Service in a state other than their state of origin. The scheme was initiated by Gen. Yakubu Gawon on 25 of May 1973, to help in promoting unity and also to foster an atmosphere for greater integration among Nigerian youths. This is in view of the diverse heterogeneous nature of the nation. At a point, the NYSC scheme was beset with discrepancies including wrong implementation of the programme, influenced postings, inappropriate and epileptic academic calendar, frequent riots and strikes in our higher institutions. It is lamentable that, some posting are still influenced to satisfy the whims and caprices of well-connected serving corps members. It is no news that majority of corps members never wanted to serve in villages but in the cities.

My argument here is that the government should abolish the NYSC programme and re-focus it to other segment of the society, because of the rejection of corps members by some establishments today.

This call has started gaining momentum since the murder of some corpers during the last post elections violence in some part of Northern Nigeria, like Plateau, Borno, Bauchi and Niger States. There have been argument that the NYSC scheme was established in the aftermath of civil war as a reconciliatory attempt by the ruling military dictatorship to solidify the official claim of “no victor no vanquished”.

Nigeria is no longer in a state of war, neither is the country still under military dictatorship. We Nigerians interact freely with one another at parties; through inter ethnic marriages, in public transport, in the market squares, at working places, in our schools and worship places.

Meanwhile, the recent deployment of corpers BATCH B set to some Northern part of Nigeria, most especially, to Bauchi, Borno and Plateau States is callous and uncalled for. As one of them, we are showing our fear that the BOKO HARAM sect members may likely attack us in our various camps in the country, so we are calling on the government to provide us with adequate security.

I am not denying the fact that NYSC scheme promote unity, but if government stops using huge amount of money on the NYSC scheme and should use such to revive the ailing public sector as this will provide job opportunity for the graduating students. More so, government should also provide room for training graduate on vocational jobs.

The government can prevent wastage of corps members lives that the scheme is fast turning to in the country.

By Ibrahim Muhammad Suleja, 400 LEVEL Department of Mass Communication Bayero University, Kano state.


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