A civil society organisation, Save Nigeria Movement has chided those calling for the scrapping of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme over security concerns saying doing so will only amount to cowardice.

The CSO contended that the security challenges in the country cannot be used as yardstick to call for the scrapping of the NYSC adding that doing so will amount to emboldening the criminals and making a caricature of the nation and undermining gallantry of security personnel who are working day and night to ensure the total defeat and elimination of all forms of insecurity in the country.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja, SNM convener, Rev Solomon Semaka described such idea as retrogressive and highly detrimental to the interest of the nation.

SNM wondered why the Human Rights and Justice Group International chose to hide under the banner of CSOs to attack the NYSC and by extension the unity of the country without any justification.

“This is not the first time a self-styled group will call for the scrapping or suspension of the Scheme and we like many Nigerians must rise up in defense of the mandate of scheme as given to us by our founding fathers”, it noted.

Outlining the imperative of sustaining the NYSC scheme and its invaluable legacies, SNM contended that it would amount to an act of cowardice to shut down the NYSC scheme because of insecurity.

“What Human Rights Group and Justice International are suggesting is as unpopular as asking people to stop traveling because of a few cases of accidents on our roads. Does anyone call for suspension of festivities because of increased roads accidents?

“Military barracks and Police Stations have also been attacked in most parts of the country but nobody has asked for the disbandment of the military or police, why is the case of NYSC different?

“For the unpatriotic groups and individuals calling for the disbandment of the Scheme as a solution to insecurity in the country, it is important to remind them that the NYSC is not a security agency. The reported incidents of kidnapping or death of Corps members and indeed that of any Nigerian is a painful and emotionally traumatizing experience that is highly regrettable but it is not the NYSC that should be held responsible.

“It is equally unpatriotic to blame security personnel directly because they are doing their best, even though there’s room for much improvement. Asking for the suspension of the Scheme is therefore, totally out of context as one cannot ask that a hospital be shut down because a few patients have died of a particular disease.

“What all Nigerians, including those calling for the suspension of the NYSC should do is to assist security personnel with the right intelligence to safeguard their communities from criminals. One thing is clear, suspending the Scheme won’t end insecurity in the country.

“We must remember the objectives of the NYSC scheme especially that of fostering unity and social interactions amongst the diverse ethnic nationalities in the country. As a post-civil war initiative, the founding fathers of the Scheme were deliberate in ensuring that educated young Nigerians be given the opportunity to interact across cultural divides and foster unity and oneness.

“Not even a spineless critic will deny the fact that the NYSC scheme has not just achieved its objective of uniting Nigerians by putting an end to the suspicions and stereotypes that once existed but has helped to forge business partnerships and marriages across tribal and cultural divides. This alone should make the scheme a sacred child of the state regardless of the challenges we face as a nation.

“Aside its immense and immeasurable contribution to fostering national unity and cohesion, the NYSC scheme has also contributed greatly in sustaining and driving the educational sector as well as the civil service. It is no longer news that most schools and government offices in both urban and rural areas are now staffed mainly with Corps members.

“In fact, most Corps members act as Principals and Head Teachers in most of those schools. The situation is the same in the health sector where medical Corps members are heavily depended upon to ensure seamless health care provision in both rural and urban health centres and hospitals. What would now become the fate of these schools, hospitals and government offices if the federal government decides to listen to a few naysayers whose idea of a solution is nothing but to set fire on a house just to catch the mice destroying the crops in the house?

“The contribution of the Scheme in national programs such as Elections, Census, routine immunisation and Birth registration can also not be easily dismissed. The NYSC scheme offers a pool of ably qualified, patriotic, hardworking Nigerians who selflessly help to facilitate national programs with such efficiency that was never seen before.

“In fact with the introduction of Corps members as Presiding Officers and other supporting roles during elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), election management has greatly reduced without a doubt. Could it be the reason why some persons are obsessed with scrapping the scheme? Who in his right senses will ask the federal government to suspend a scheme that has been very beneficial and the pride of every Nigerian youth except it is standing against his selfish and parochial interest?

“The benefits of the Scheme far outweighs the reasons our enemies are advancing for its suspension. The Scheme remains the largest employer of labour in Nigeria with more than a million Nigerian youths passing through its three batches annually. In fact every household in Nigeria either has a Corps member currently, an ex-Corps member or a prospective Corps member including the households of those calling for its suspension.

“What would have happened if those who have benefited from the employment opportunity offered by the NYSC were left jobless? We, therefore vehemently resist their lack of foresight or pure wickedness and stand shoulder to shoulder with the NYSC Scheme and its management in the pursuit of the Scheme’s vision and objectives across the country.

“It is rather unfortunate that those calling for the suspension of NYSC did not even deem it fit to acknowledge the excellent work the Scheme is doing to integrate skills acquisition in its programmes. While many well-meaning Nigerians are urging Mr. President to assent to the NYSC Trust Fund Bill to give the Scheme a financial backing to empower Nigerian youths towards ending unemployment and poverty, others, driven by selfish motives are calling for the suspension of the Scheme.

“By their fruits, we shall know them. It has now become clear that what concerns these charlatans is not the security of Corps members but a clandestine attempt to disband the scheme and jeopardise the future of Nigerian youths and Nigerians at large. We strongly suspect it is a ploy to give the current leadership of president Tinubu a bad name so as to turn around in future and vilify the government for political convenience.

“The NYSC has done its best in ensuring the security of Corps members in its care through different strategies including prohibiting Corps members from appearing in their kits in certain places and frequent travels in places notorious for insecurity. Periodic bulletins are distributed and interactive sessions are been held to beef up sensitisation.

“If not for these interventions, so much worse would have happened. We should therefore commend the current Director General of the Scheme and all his dedicated staff for doing their best to secure Corps members. This is it not time for blame games because every country in the world is plagued by one form of insecurity or the other. Ending the NYSC Scheme will not end insecurity so what is the purpose of doing it? Our collective resolve should rather be to end insecurity and not find scape goats in critical government institutions.

“Let us end by saying that our organisation, Save Nigeria Movement has been monitoring developments around the security and welfare of Corps members and so far can only commend the current leadership for their astuteness and transparency. Nigerians should be reminded that heeding the suspension of the NYSC scheme would amount to throwing away the baby with bad water.

“Since suspending the Scheme will not end insecurity in the country, we call on Nigerians and CSOs who are desirous in ending insecurity to come together and brainstorm on tangible options rather than seeking to destroy functional institutions. Let us be fair in our assessment of the situation in order not to create unnecessary panic and mislead the people.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here