The future of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is in the balance as the House of Representatives considers a bill to scrap the scheme.
The scheme will be 50 years old in 2023, but it may not get to celebrate the 50th anniversary, if the bill becomes law.
Awaji Abiante, a lawmaker from Rivers State on Wednesday sponsored a bill to repeal the act establishing the scheme and to also amend the 1999 constitution accordingly.
The lawmaker seeks to use the bill to amend section 315 (1)(a) of the 1999 constitution.
It would be recalled that the scheme was established after the civil war in 1973.
Corruption ravaged posting
NYSC posting has been plagued by corruption lately. With the state of insecurity in the country, graduates and parents now procure posting in a bid to avoid volatile states, DAILY POST investigation reveals.
Several ex-corps, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, stated that with N70,000, you can get posted to the two most sought after states; Lagos and FCT.
The investigation further reveals that redeployment after camp is like N50,000. Most graduates avoid the Northern part of the country due to banditry.
“My parents will not even allow me to go anywhere other than Abuja. We had to work it here. Normally, the fact that I schooled in Abuja, I am not supposed to get posted to Abuja, it is not even supposed to be in the options of preferred states, but here we are,” a Corps member at the Kubwa camp told DAILY POST.
On if the government should scrap the scheme, he said, “there is a pride in wearing this cloth, my father wore it, and I am proud of wearing it too.”
However, some who cannot afford the money to bribe, are left with the options of risk accepting the posting or not participating in the scheme.
Speaking with a mother of a corps member posted to Katsina, Funke Alake in Ilorin Kwara state, expressed fear over the posting.
“Anytime we tune a radio to news, the only thing we hear about on the radio concerning the north is kidnapping, killing, and others. If they cannot protect these children, they should scrap it for god sake.”
A student of the University of Abuja, Ahmed Amidat, who also spoke on the bill, urged the lawmakers to reject the bill, and instead reform the system.
“NYSC offers you immediate employment opportunity with a stipend above the National minimum wage. You get to have job experience. Of course, I will not want to be posted to Maiduguri or Zamfara, but we can have a situation where you are allowed to serve in your state. That will be great.”
A civil servant, who works at the NYSC office but preferred not to be named said ending the NYSC will mean job loss for NYSC staff.
“What will happen to the workers? Is he going to move them to other Ministries or what? These are questions they need to ask. Yes, the system is not perfect, yes we need to ensure the safety of the corps. But scrapping it is not the solution,” the civil servant told DAILY POST.
People who do business at the NYSC camp in Kubwa also opposed the bill.
Mr Abiante in the synopsis of the bill argued that the NYSC should be scrapped due to security, exploitation of corps members and failure of the scheme to bring about unity.
“After several decades, the program has failed to address the essence of its establishment,” the lawmaker said.
The bill still has a long way to go, but the uncertainty of the scheme remains an issue.