Universities Alumni reject abolition of NYSC, task Tetfund on Orientation camps
By: Oluwatosin Adesola
Association of Nigeria Universities Alumni (ANUA) has rejected a proposal for the scrapping of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
In a Press Statement, the National President of the association, Dr Wale Fasakin, said rather the Scheme should be rebranded and its orientation camps upgraded nationwide by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, (TETFUND).
Below is the full text of the Association’s statement;
ANUA STRONGLY OBJECTS SCRAPPING OF NYSC
Nigerians would recolllect that the NYSC Scheme was set up in 1973 by the General Yakubu Gowon administration, as part of the strategies to foster unity in the post civil war era in Nigeria.
The said scheme was established by decree 24. However, the scheme which has, for many seasons promote inter-regional interaction for youths, has come under heavy criticism of late, reason being the deteriorating security situation in the country .
The latest in the attempt to undermine the viability of the scheme is the bill sponsored by the distinguished Hon member of House of Representatives Abiante who cited insecurity, exploitation of the youth via their place of primary assignment and the poor state of the orientation camps across the nation as reasons for his proposal to scrap the scheme.
It should be registered that these reasons are identifiable with the Nigerian society wherein the scheme operates, yet they are not very good enough pointers for the scrapping of such laudable programme like the NYSC which has served as one of the tools for the socio-economic development of the country.
The scheme has served as a viable instrument of exposure for a very large percentage of the growing population of the youths in Nigeria through deployments of corps members to states outside their places of origin to contribute their quota to National development.
The scheme provided a breeding ground for the youths who have just graduated from the universities across the country to be able to find their bearings in the society. If NYSC is scrapped, it will encourage most of the youths to go into crime because of the level of unemployment in the country.
While ANUA will continue to way in on the continual existence of the scheme, it, however, recommends that:
(i). That the issues of insecurity be addressed frontally by the government in other to guarantee quality assurance of security everywhere in the country. This is done, will remove fears of insecurity of our wards by the Nigerian parents and guardians whose children are involved in the scheme.
(ii). Adequate funding and building of modern orientation camps across the country should be embarked upon, employing the service of institutions like TETFUND that is in charge of intervention funds for universities in the country. Through this, a lot of burdens will be removed from the Federal Government.
(iii). The skill acquisition initiative of NYSC should be accorded the full support of government and private organization alike. There must be conscious review of the NYSC scheme to lay more emphasis on skill acquisition and play down on primary assignment so that at the end of the service period, corps members would have acquired certain skills that will make them be self employed and be employers of labour.
(iv). The scheme should be made voluntary for graduates of higher institutions to participate in. This will put an end to requests for relocation from place of primary assignments to another state of choice.
Scrapping the scheme is ‘a no go area by government or anyone.
If the bill for the scrapping of NYSC should go through, it will spell doom for the unity of the country which is parpetually fostered through it.
The intertribal marriage made possible among the youths, an integral factor which many adult Nigerians, like me, benefitted from will be jeopardized.
I am a living example of this because I met and marry my wife who is of Delta State extraction when she came for her service year in Ogun State. Then I was a staff of the scheme in the 80s, if not for NYSC, it would have been impossible for us to meet. So many other people benefited from this opportunity.
Handle insecurity and other perceived obstacles very well rather than kill the NYSC scheme which has and shall continually serve as the bridge of unity for nationals of Nigeria.