By Frank Oshanugor
As Nigeria’s House of Representatives grapples with the Bill seeking the alteration of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to repeal the National Youths Service Corp (NYSC) Act, many Nigerians are lending their support towards scrapping youth service scheme for graduating students.
Public opinion pool carried out by SECURITY REPORTERS.com and monitoring of comments on Twitter handles and other social media platforms revealed that majority of Nigerians particularly from the Southern States do not support the continuation of the scheme.
Many of them contended that NYSC which was established in 1973 by the then General Yakubu Gowon’s military administration has outlived it’s usefulness in many ways principal of which is that Nigeria is far more disunited in contemporary times than when the scheme was introduced.
Many of those who spoke with SECURITY REPORTERS.com argued that the high level of insecurity in the country is one major reason NYSC should be scrapped.
A Lagos based electrical engineer, Sado Ernest noted that in his days as a young University leaver, it was fun to go on NYSC and while serving in a far away state, new cultures were learned, new friends made and so on irrespective of ethnic and religious differences. “Today, it is a different ball game as some potential corpers would not even want to serve outside their state of origin for fear of being Kidnapped, attacked or killed by criminal elements in the country”, he emphasised.
A secondary teacher, Adeboye Yemi said scrapping of NYSC is long over due just as a newly married couple Mr. Bruno and his wife Joyce Akeju both of whom began their love life as undergraduate course mates noted that even though NYSC brings people of different backgrounds together, insecurity in the country has taken away the fun. So they are in support of scrapping the scheme.
Recalling the several incidents of attack and death of corpers in various northern states especially during elections, Mrs. Gladys Oyibo threw her weight to any move to scrap the NYSC. She gave a brief narration of how her neighbour’s son was badly injured and left with permanent disability when some fundamentalist Muslims in the North attacked Christian Corpers a few years.
From comments on Twitter handles, majority of those who commented on the Bill seeking to repeal the NYSC Act largely saw the current insecurity in the country as one big reason while the scheme should be discontinued.
The sponsor of the Bill, Hon. Awaji-Inombek Abiante in the explanatory memorandum of the proposal listed insecurity and the killing of members of the Corps as a reason for the scrapping.
The Bill seeks to repeal Section 315(5)(a) of the Constitution on the grounds of incessant killing of innocent corps members in some parts of the country due to banditry, religious extremism and ethnic violence, incessant kidnapping of innocent corp members across the country.
Another reason for seeking to scrap the scheme according to the sponsor is the fact that public and private agencies, departments are no longer recruiting able and qualified Nigerian youths, thus relying heavily on the availability of corp members who are not being well remunerated and get discarded with impunity at the end of their service year without any hope being gainfully employed.
It was gathered that due to insecurity across the country, the NYSC management in recent time gave consideration to posting some corp members to their geo-political zones, thus defeating one of the objectives of setting up the scheme which is developing common ties among the Nigeria youths and promote national unity and integration.
The Bill which had formally been introduced on the floor of the House of Representatives may be listed for Second Reading any time soon.