Please, don’t scrap NYSC
It is reported that the House of Representatives is mulling scrapping the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC),as a bill to that effect is set for a second reading. The sponsor of the bill, Awaji-Inombek Abiaante, in the exploratory memorandum of the proposal, cited growing insecurity, killing of corps members and other issues as the main reason.
NYSC scheme was established under degree No. 24 on December 22, 1973, by the General Yakubu Gowon military government to rebuild Nigeria through a programme which was known as 3Rs. The objectives of the scheme are: to enable Nigerian youths acquire the spirit of self reliance by encouraging them to develop skills for self employment; to contribute to the accelerated growth of the national economy; to develop common ties among the Nigerian youths and promote national unity and integration.
The NYSC scheme was established such that graduates of Nigeria tertiary institutions are deployed to states in Nigeria other than their states of origin or sometimes their states of residence for a compulsory one year of service to their fatherland. Though, the reasons for the call to scrap the scheme are genuine, since its establishment in the last five decades, NYSC has strengthened the bond of mutual coexistence among the diverse ethnic composition of the country.
The scheme has enabled other ethnic groups to appreciate the complexity of the country vis-a-vis cultural and religious identities. Graduates who were opportune to attend the mandatory one year service usually share their fond memories with loved ones. Besides encouraging inter-ethnic marriages, NYSC scheme provides job opportunities to graduates as public and private sectors identify and retain best graduating students after service.
It is unarguably to state, corps members are victims of insecurity in the country. Evidence abounds on how they continue to lost their precious lives in the course of their national assignment to Boko Haram, bandits and ethno-religious strife.
Notwithstanding the dangers corps members are being exposed to, NYSC remains the only surviving legacy that promotes unity in diversity. No wonder, recent opinion poll indicated that many Nigerians voted in favour of the scheme. Amidst agitation for secession, our parliamentarians should tarry awhile not to tinker with this all important scheme. What the scheme needs at this time is total reform to reflect the current realities.
Pambegua, Kaduna state
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