By Frank Oshanugor
Many Nigerian graduates of universities and polytechnics awaiting their posting for the National Youths Service scheme now live in great fear as the news of threat to kill an abducted Corp member; Jennifer Lorliam by her kidnappers continues to go viral in the social media.
Lorliam, a graduate of English from Benue State University, was reportedly kidnapped on Tuesday October 19, on her way to Zamfara State orientation camp as a newly deployed Corp member.
Our correspondent gathered that the kidnappers had established contact with Jennifer’s family and made a ransom demand of N3million. Lattest information has alleged that the kidnappers have threatened to kill the youth Corper or marry her off at a prize if their demand was not met in good time.
A good number of graduates waiting for their schools to complete their posting process for the national primary assignment told our correspondent that they were scared by the news of Jennifer’s abduction.
Many of them who did not want their names mentioned were worried that their ambition of joyfully participating in the NYSC scheme was being threatened by the high level of insecurity in the country.
Some of them spoken to, in Lagos said they would not want to serve in any of the northern states as the level of kidnapping and banditry was higher over there. According to one of the awaiting Corpers who simply identified himself as Chuks, “I would rather refuse to go for the service once I am posted to the north.”
A good number of them would even want the Federal Government to scrap the NYSC scheme as it no longer promotes the unity it was originally meant to achieve. They argued that Corpers were increasingly being exposed to unnecessary attacks by kidnappers, terrorists and bandits.
They recalled how some Corp members were killed during elections a few years ago and the trend has continued in spite of assurances of safety by the authorities.
It will be recalled that earlier this year, a member of the House of Representatives had moved a motion to scrap the NYSC scheme in the light of the current state of insecurity. The motion had received mixed reactions from both the law makers and the public.
While some believed that the scheme could continue to foster unity among young Nigerians, others contended that such unity could not be at the expense of lives of young graduates who are the future light of their families.
Some older Nigerians who commented on the issue said the NYSC scheme could be suspended for now until the security and safety of persons are largely observed throughout the country. According to Engr. Bankole Ignatius, “during our days, to enroll in NYSC scheme was a thing of joy. I served in Maiduguri and I never experienced any threat to my life. I made good friends at the camp and we had good time throughout the service year. But I doubt if I can allow my own child to be posted to even nearby Kwara State, due to the high level of insecurity.”
“I am of the opinion that the scheme should either be scrapped or suspended for now. It is not worth dying for.”
Mallam Abubakar Dachi who trades in foreign currency in Lagos said he did his NYSC in the South West hence he eventually settled in Lagos because of the spirit of oneness accorded him during his service year. He however regret the insecurity now in the country and expressed that what is happening in the North is enough to scare the young ones from going to serve over there.
He is equally of the view that Government should reconsider the issue of NYSC either to scrap it or suspend it for sometime.