The director-general of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig. Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, has disclosed that corps members can be mobilised for war if need be, saying they are part of the national defence policy of Nigeria.
Speaking on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ breakfast show on on Wednesday while reacting to moves to scrap the NYSC scheme because of deteriorating security situation in the country, Ibrahim maintained that corps members are on reserve as they are educated and knowledgeable to be trained.
LEADERSHIP reports that a Bill to amend the 1999 constitution to scrap the NYSC was introduced recently by a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Awaji-Inimbek Abiante (PDP, Rivers).
The Bill seeks to repeal section 315(5a) of the 1999 constitution and the National Youth Service Corps Act.
But Brigadier-General Ibrahim said, “Corps members are on reserve. They are part of the national defence policy of this country.
“So, where there is serious war, our corps members are educated, they are knowledgeable and they can be trained. You see the drill and so on.
“You can imagine within the short three weeks in the orientation camps, the corps members are moulded. They are like soldiers. You see female corps members blowing the army horn, playing with the military band.”
He explained that if not for the knowledge, how can someone mobilise such young Nigerians to train them quickly to put in their best for the country?
“So, corps members are on reserve. They are also part of the national defence policy,” he said.
Ibrahim said the NYSC is concerned about the security of corps members and that is why they had been advised not to move around at night.
Ibrahim argued that the NYSC had become more important than ever in the face of the rising calls for secession.
The NYSC boss stated that he had advised corps members not to travel outside the state or the country without the permission of the state coordinator.
He added that corps members had been urged not to travel after 6 pm and they are free to sleep at any corpers’ lodge while travelling.
Ibrahim said corps members had played a huge role in educating children in Internally Displaced Persons’ camps.
The NYSC boss maintained that the insecurity in the country was not enough reason to scrap the scheme, adding that till date, 75 per cent of corps members are still serving in rural areas across the country.
He added that he had proposed a National Youth Trust Fund through which loans would be given to corps members to start businesses after completing the mandatory programme.