Nigerian students and other stakeholders in the education sector have rejected calls for the scrapping of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), defending that it has remained a unifying factor in the country.
A recent Bill on the floor of the House of Representatives, sponsored by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker from Rivers State, Awaji-Inombek Abiante, is considering discontinuation of the NYSC Scheme due to insecurity and other issues.
Speaking on the Bill which has already passed first reading, Abiante argued that the scheme has led to “Incessant killing of innocent corps members in some parts of the country due to banditry, religious extremism and ethnic violence; incessant kidnapping of innocent corps members across the country,” among others.
However, contrary to the argument, undergraduates, serving corps members and others who spoke to me stressed the need to continue the scheme, saying it has done more good than harm to Nigeria.
The deputy coordinator of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Zone C, Comrade Shedrach Ovye, says scrapping the scheme will do more harm than good in the lives of thousands of Nigerian youths.
“I won’t support the scrapping of NYSC because there will be no room for interstate experience. Most of these corps members only get to experience other states during the scheme where they are posted to different parts of the country. I got new experience in the weather, environment and the tourism places there and I like them.
“If they scrap NYSC, there will be an increase in crime rate because most of the youth that are supposed to be employed over that specific period of time, will be immediately jobless after school and thus may not have any start-up capital because NYSC helps a lot of youths to serve and also establish their businesses.”
Director-general of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Brig-Gen Shuaibu Ibrahim, recently said despite the call to scrap the scheme its relevance in the integration and national cohesion of the country cannot be underestimated.
He said the corps has been serving as a tool for the socio-economic development of the country through the deployment of corps members to states outside their states of origin, where they contribute their quota by making a positive impact in the lives of their host communities through the execution of different laudable projects.
One of the prospective corps members, Ijeoma Anigbogu says if the scheme is scrapped most youth will go into criminal activities out of desperation. “Most corps members use the scheme to save up their allowance and start a life after service.”
A serving corps member with Lagos State Government, Jessica Member says “As an alternative, the scheme can be restructured. Skill acquisition or technical training should be the focus of the scheme instead. But scrapping it won’t solve matters.”