As the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) prepares to send call-up letters to prospective corps members for the Batch ‘B’ 2011 orientation, its director-general, Brigadier-General, Muharazu Tsiga, yesterday ruled out the likelihood of posting corps members to states where some members were killed or maimed.
The director-general said that no corps member would be posted to Bauchi State where 10 corps members were killed during the recent post-election violence. It was also feared that the NYSC deployment embargo may affect Borno, Kano, and Kaduna where corps members were maimed during the riots.
Addressing the press yesterday in his office, Tsiga said that addressing the security situation in the country should be more important than the present call in some quarters for the scrapping of the NYSC scheme. He however explained that the posting of corps members was not the problem but national security which needs to be addressed.
The DG said that corps members who would like to leave Bauchi have been offered letters of redeployment to other states but that 10 of them have returned the letters’saying they wanted to stay. He recalled that during the evacuation of the corps members from Bauchi during the violence, corps members in two of the local government areas said they were not leaving. “Also during the violence in Jos last year, only 50 of the corps members accepted the letter of redeployment offered to them,” he said.
Nigerian, he said, should come forward and give testimonies at the presidential panel on the post-election violence, in order to help fish out the perpetrators of the Bauchi violence where 10 corps members were lost.
Tsiga continued: “Does it mean that if NYSC is scrapped or if there is regional posting, that will be the end to insecurity, unemployment and distrust? The solution is to address the security challenge in this country. When I assumed office, I visited the 774 local governments in the country so that the traditional rulers and the police officers can form security committees to secure the corps members but we heard the news of the traditional ruler that raped a female corps member whom he should be protecting. Posting is not the issue, the issue is to address national security and get the people that should be protecting corps members to perform this obligation towards them.
“I’m appealing to Nigerians, particularly parents, to encourage the young ones to do their best. The youths are not the problem of Nigeria but we the elders, please encourage us.” Already, he added, some of the corps members have started sending him text messages asking when they can go back to their places of primary assignment.
While he condoled with the families of the deceased corps members, Tsiga, said that the NYSC would pay insurance to the families of the slain and was already working with INEC to compile the names of corps members who were affected or wounded or who lost their property during the incident in order to compensate them. According to him, President Goodluck Jonathan views the incident as a national calamity, which was the reason state burials were accorded the slain heroes and a token presented to their families.
He added that the NYSC scheme had contributed immensely to national development and that the last elections, adjudged free and fair, was an evidence. He said that the scheme and corps members should be commended rather than attacked. “The system and heart of the nation is being attacked. We should put ourselves together. Instead of attacking the scheme, we should fish out those who killed the corps members. NYSC has made a presentation to the presidential committee on the violence. Let Nigerians speak out about the criminals who perpetrated the act”, he said.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday announced that he would unveil his ministers two weeks after the May 29 inauguration.
The president also discountenanced calls for the scrapping of the NYSC programme, insisting that the conflict that led to the killing of some corps members after the just concluded presidential election was not enough to cause suspension of the programme.
Vowing that no time would be wasted after his inauguration, the president promised that the new federal cabinet would, barring any unforeseen events, be ready two weeks after his swearing-in.
The president also presented to the National Assembly a bill seeking the amendment of the constitution.