The increasing spate of kidnapping or killing of youth corp members by gunmen in various parts of the country in contemporary time and the inability of the government security agencies to stem the tide seriously calls for scrapping of the scheme which has since outlived its usefulness.

It is quite nauseating that a scheme which was well intended many years ago and which largely over the years has brought some cultural dynamism amongst  Nigerian youths of various extractions has now become a frightening venture courtesy of the large scale insecurity in the country.

Historically, the National Youths Service Corp (NYSC) scheme was created in a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian civil war. The unfortunate antecedents in Nigeria’s national history gave impetus to the establishment of the NYSC by Decree No. 24 of 22nd May, 1973 which stated that the NYSC “is being established with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of national unity.”

This well articulated intention by the founders of the NYSC scheme has now been put on the reverse gear as youth corp members have suddenly become targets of attack by the evil ones in our midst.

Records abound of corp members who over the years have fallen victims of kidnappers, communal warlords and so on.

In September, 2020 five female corp members serving in Rivers State were abducted by kidnappers.  They were serving in a community secondary school in Omuma Local Government Area of the State where they were abducted from the residential lodge provided for them by the school.

Two members of the NYSC deployed from Benue State to Kebbi and Sokoto were kidnapped along Tsafe Gusau Road in Zamfara State.  The incident occurred about 10pm on October 22, 2021 when a vehicle with Registration No. GBK 339 ZY conveying the corp members was blocked

by the armed bandits.  The two corp members Jennifer Awashima Lorliam and Joseph Zakaa Aondona were among those abducted.

Only on March 18, this year another corp member Faith Onoriode; a graduate of Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe-Oghara was kidnapped on her way to Jigawa State where she was deployed to serve.  Her abductors have demanded N40million ransom which is yet to be paid as at press time while she remains in the custody of the Kidnappers.

A few months ago, report in the social media quoted authorities of the NYSC as having passed message to all prospective corp members that their families should make provision for the payment of ransom if they happened to be abducted.

Initially, the story was dismissed when the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamela condemned the allegation.

As the current batch of corp members completed their three weeks orientation last week, it was gathered that those relocated from Anambra State  to other states from the camp were told while leaving their Orientation camp not to kit up in their NYSC dresses until they have gone out of Anambra State so that they would not fall prey to kidnappers. What an embarrassing development, we may say.

It is no longer news that corp members have been victims of sectarian violence (as it happened in Jos, Plateau State) and also have been raped and killed as it happened in Maiduguri. A good number of corp members were killed during the last general elections in conflicts by political brigands.

The fear of insecurity that pervades the length and breadth of the various states in the Northern and Southeastern parts of the country has now brought so much pressure on the authorities of the NYSC from corp members who are seeking relocation to other states considered safer.  Many prospective corp members of Southern extraction would want to serve in states like Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Edo, Delta and others considered safer.

Such quest was uncommon in the earliest years of the scheme. Going on youths service was an exciting part of educational attainment in those days as a corp member of Delta extraction for instance, posted to Maiduguri was looking forward to acquire as much cultural knowledge of the citizens of that area as possible.  New types of food were discovered, new friendships emerged,  better understanding and appreciation of unity in our diversity became a evident.  Today, reverse is obviously the case.

As the leadership of Nigeria finds it extremely difficult to grapple with the security challenges trying to consume the average citizen, we hasten to advocate that the NYSC scheme be scrapped in order to save many young Nigerians and their families the trauma kidnapping, bandits attacks and so on, have brought to bear in the polity.  It is unimaginable how a family which has spent huge sum of money training a child from elementary school to University level, only to lose such child not to natural death but to the blood tastiness of some vampires in our midst.

We pray, it will never be the portion of parents to lose their children at such stage of life.

Time is now for the Federal Government of Nigeria to scrap the youth or at best modify the law to give prospective corp members the right to choose where they prefer to serve at least until the country returns to normalcy.


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