Attacks on corps members serving in Osun Schools have become a recurring decimal leading to fear and blames. In this report JOSHUA DADA break the ice on the crisis in Osun State.
When some members of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) were attacked at Oshogbo High School, in Oshogbo the capital of Osun State sometimes in 2017 many people thought that would mark the end of such lawless act in the state.
As far as many observers were concerned, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, was established in Nigeria on 22nd May, 1973 by the then Nigerian former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon administration as part of his “To keep Nigeria one’, saying that it remained a task that must be done.”
Ever since then the scheme involved a one year service to the nation by graduates of Universities and Polytechnics in which the spirit of nationality is inculcated in Nigerian youths. Corps member are expected to be respected and accommodated wherever they are posted to anywhere in the country.
In Osun state, Corps members enjoy tremendous hospitality and are given preferential treatment on passenger buses, banks, hospitals, markets and other public places. However, the event of the attack on some Corps members sometimes in 2017 came as a rude shock to government and the people of Osun State.
The attack it was gathered was not targeted at Corps members alone because teachers and students also had their own share of the molestation.
While it was alleged that the perpetrators of the dastardly acts were cultists and students of Oshogbo High school, eye witness account revealed that most of the perpetrators were hoodlums drawn from nowhere.
The hoodlums it was gathered were out to assist some students of neighbouring school revenge the attack on them outside the school premises by alleged students of the institution who had constituted themselves as rivals.
A teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity disclosed that she was able to identify a student among the hoodlums adding that the attack was not targeted at Corps members.
A student simply identified as ‘Alarm’ noted that a particular Corps member was targeted for reason best known to the hoodlums and expressed regret that he was a victim of the attack for no just cause.
Obviously not amused by the development, the Osun State Coordinator of NYSC, Mr Emmanuel Attah said authorities of NYSC in Osun have withdrawn some corps members serving in a secondary school in Oshogbo, Osun State after some suspected student cultists allegedly attacked them.
According to Attah, the affected schools refused to end the incessant attacks on corps members, hence the decision to withdraw them from the schools.
Attah said, “Those who employ corps members are expected to provide accommodation, welfare and ensure their security but when corps members are exposed to danger or insecurity, the NYSC will withdraw them.”
He said in 2017, corps members serving in Oshogbo High School, Oshogbo were attacked by students suspected to be cultists, and the school was unable to guarantee and provide for their safety.
Attah said when the principal of the school could not assure the NYSC that the attacks on the corps members would stop and those suspected attackers would be apprehended, NYSC stopped deploying students to the school.
But the State government said there was no basis for blacklisting the school by the authorities of NYSC. According to the commissioner for Education, Mr Kola Omotunde-Young, government has eliminated cultism in its public schools, adding that there was no official complaint or withdrawal of corps members from any school from the NYSC Directorate.
According to Omotunde-Young, the alleged attacked school was old Oshogbo High School with porous and broken down fence at its far end at the back. Omotunde-Young stated that the school was besieged sometime in 2017 by hoodlums who found accommodation in some abandoned buildings around the premises adjoining the school at the back.
He added that the government reported the presence and activities of the hoodlums to the State Security Service and Police restored order through arrests, prosecution and surveillance since 2017.
The commissioner wondered why an incident that happened almost a year ago, with no official complaint by NYSC that any corps members was ever endangered, could be a subject of complaint and media syndication in March 2018.
LEADERSHIP Sunday’s investigation revealed that despite the huge size of the school, there are no Corps member, Omotunde said the school has not made request for NYSC Corps members or been turned down. According to him, the school has adequate number of full time teachers and N-Power volunteer teachers who have continued to do their work without hindrance or danger.
He said the administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is committed to promotion of quality and functional education and the welfare of the corps members in the state. He said, “Osun has eliminated cult activities and hooliganism from its Elementary, Middle and High schools and have been commended severally for this.
“Osun has been acknowledged and commended locally and by international agencies for its success at undertaking substantial reform of the school system, with new world class school infrastructure, decentralisation of management through creation of Senatorial Districts headed by Tutor Generals/PSs, and strict quality enforcement and reorientation of students through the newly established Osun Education Quality Assurance and Morality Enforcement Agency.
The government of Rauf Aregbesola has delivered 9 world class high schools each with capacity for 3, 000 students and another 2 of these are to be delivered in two months. These schools are state of the art and provide secure environments for learning. In addition 25 world class middle Schools and 22 world class Elementary schools have been delivered.
“Osun is acknowledged as one of the safest states in the country due to government’s commitment to security of lives and property. “The government will continue to support NYSC as it is doing in its more than 1, 000 schools and assures the NYSC and all cadets of the government’s commitment to their best interest.”
A visit to the school revealed calmness and real business as teachers and students were going about their work without hindrances. Oshogbo High school is one of the world class 3, 000 student capacity school with vast infrastructure, commissioned by President Muhammad Buhari.
It is evidently clear that no case of attack by either cultists or hoodlums was recorded in the school recently as the entire premises is not only fortified by security operatives but fenced adequately to prevent intruders.