Debate on proposed cancelation of the compulsory National Youth Service Corps scheme is now in full gear in the National Assembly with the bill on the subject entering the second reading.
Awaji-Inombek Abiante, the member of the House of Representative who is helming the campaign for the scrapping of the scheme said it is no longer fit for purpose.
The legislator, while highlighting the reasons why the scheme must be discontinued when the “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Alteration Bill, 2020,” entered the second reading in the House of Representatives said, “This bill seeks to repeal Section 315(5)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended) on the following grounds:
“Incessant killing of innocent corps members in some parts of the country due to banditry, religious extremism and ethnic violence; incessant kidnapping of innocent corps members across the country;
“Public and private agencies/departments are no longer recruiting able and qualified Nigerian youths, thus relying heavily on the availability of corps members who are not being well remunerated and get discarded with impunity at the end of their service year without any hope of being gainfully employed;
“Due to insecurity across the country, the National Youth Service Corps management now gives considerations to posting corps members to their geopolitical zone, thus defeating one of the objectives of setting up the service corps, i.e. developing common ties among the Nigerian youths and promote national unity and integration.”
The military regime of General Yakubu Gowon had established the NYSC on May 22, 1973, under Decree No. 24 of 1973 as a way of reconciling and reintegrating Nigerians after the civil war between July 6, 1967 and January 15, 1970.
The bill’s entering of the second reading concides with President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval of the appointment of new members of the National Governing Board for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
The appointment notice was contained in a statement by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Mohammed Manga.
According to the statement, the appointment is for a three-year period.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointments into the National Governing Board of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC),” he said.
“Those appointed are Ambassador Fatima Balla Abubakar as Chairman; Prince Oyekunle Oyewunmi, President’s Nominee; Mrs. Binta Muaza, President’s Nominee, Yusut Umar Nalado, President’s Nominee; Major-Gen B.O. Sawyerr, Representative of the Chief of Army Staff, Commissioner of Police Ede Ayuba, Representing the Inspector General of Police; Architect Sani Aliyu, Representing the Committee of Rectors of Polytechnics; and Professor Sulyman A. Abdulkareem, Representing Committee of Vice-Chancellors.
“Their appointment is for three years The National Governing Board is the highest policy-making organ of the NYSC.”
NYSC On “Compulsory” Vaccination Of Corps Members
In the meantime, the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, has said the COVID-19 vaccine would not be made compulsory for corps members.
He also urged prospective corps members to be security conscious at all times, warning that they should not put themselves in harm’s way.
According to a statement by the NYSC Director of Press and Public Relations, Adenike Adeyemi, the Director-General spoke during a nationwide virtual address to the 2021 Batch ’A’ Stream II prospective corps members ahead of their official induction in the 37 NYSC Orientation Camps across the country.
The statement was titled ‘COVID-19 vaccine not compulsory but important, DG tells corps members.’
“The National Youth Service Corps has said it would not force corps members to take COVID-19 jab, but advised that the vaccine is good for personal protection against contracting the deadly Coronavirus,” the statement read in part.
Ibrahim was quoted as advising them to make themselves available to the officials from the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency whenever they visit their camps to administer the vaccine on camp participants.
He also advised corps members to abide by the oath of allegiance of the scheme, the NYSC bye-laws and the NYSC Act in order to maintain good conduct throughout the service year.
“NYSC doesn’t harbour criminals, therefore, shun cultism, cybercrime and other social vices.
“You must be disciplined, committed, patriotic and maintain a good record throughout your service year,” he added.
The NYSC boss also urged them to take full advantage of the service year to empower themselves and also develop their host communities with viable projects that would impact positively their living standard.
He advised them to take their security seriously and avoid night journeys and parties.
He added, “We have our collaborating partners like the CBN, Bank of Industry among others that have been assisting corps members with loans to finance their businesses, please take advantage of the NYSC and tune your mindset to success”.
“Please take note of the security tips and don’t put yourself in harm’s way. You must be security conscious and identity with the security agencies wherever you are posted to. Avoid parties and night travelling because the Federal Government and NYSC care for your security.
“If you want to travel, obtain written permission from NYSC because your employer doesn’t have the power to grant you permission and also don’t travel at night.
“If you are going on a long journey, cut the journey to pass the night once it is 6pm. Don’t embark on any unauthorised journey and don’t endanger your safety.”
Ibrahim also urged the corps members to embrace the Federal Government’s N75bn Youth Trust Fund and National Young Farmers’ Scheme by which interested corps members in agric-business would be empowered.