The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was initiated in 1973 to facilitate national integration and bridge cultural and ethnic gaps in a heterogeneous country like Nigeria.
The objectives of the one-year compulsory program for Nigerian graduates are clearly spelt out in Decree No.51 of 16th June 1993.
The programme is an avenue for Nigerians to serve their fatherland in whatever part of the country they are posted to.
Over the years, the scheme has been abused and it appears it is no longer achieving its objectives.
Many Nigerians have been complaining about the scheme and have been calling for it to be scrapped.
Here are reasons Nigerians want NYSC to be scrapped.
1. It has outlived its usefulness
The major aim of NYSC is to foster national unity by posting Nigerian graduates to places other than their home states. National unity has been given as an argument for retaining the programme. Many are of the opinion that the scheme has outlived its usefulness and failed to achieve its objectives to a large extent. The scheme is now 43 years old but can Nigeria really boast of being united?
2. Turning corps members to corpse
There have been calls for the scrapping of the scheme, following the death of some corps members in some parts of the country. Some corps members have lost their lives to election violence, others to health challenges. Recently, three Nigerian graduates, Ukeme Monday deployed to Zamfara, Elechi Chinyerom deployed to Bayelsa and Oladepo Ifedolapo deployed to Kano passed away during the course of their 3-week orientation program. Ukeme was said to have passed away on Thursday, December 1, after suffering from Diarrhea. Ifedolapo lost her life due to negligence after they thought she was faking sickness to avoid parade.
After studying hard and going through the challenges of Nigerian universities for years, you now end up losing your life in the course of serving your fatherland.
3. Waste of time
For some the one year spent serving the country is a waste of time. After graduating from school, you have to wait for NYSC. If you are unlucky, your school will keep you at home for months before your name appears on the NYSC list. After service, you also end up in the labour market like every other person, so what is the essence?
4. Punishment of innocent graduates
NYSC is often referred to as ‘now your suffering continues’ by people who have gone through the programme. For some youths, the compulsory one year service is nothing but punishment. Some have complained about their orientation camps, no water, dirty environment, and the food is nothing to write home about. After orientation camp, you might be unlucky to be posted to a community without electricity and good water and you have to endure this for one year.
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5. Opportunity to employ cheap labour
Presently, the federal government pays corps members N19,800 as allowance every month. To an average Nigerian, that money is worthless especially in this time when recession is biting harder. Corps members are paid peanuts by their employers. Some pay as low as N10,000. An establishment which hires a graduate and pays him or her N100,000 will hire a corps member and pay N10,000. Is the corps member not a graduate too?
6. It is no longer safe
There is rising insecurity in various parts of d country and there are no security measures in place. Innocent graduates are deployed to these communities and some end up losing their lives. Some have lost their lives to election violence. In March, Okonta Samuel, who was serving in Rivers state died while helping to facilitate the election re-run.
If the government thinks the NYSC program is safe enough, why don't they send their children to an unknown land to serve their country? Instead, they always end up serving in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja or close to home. If they can't send their children to unknown regions, why should other people’s children be forced to do so?
7. It is a waste of fund and resources
Some are of the opinion that the government can no longer afford the scheme anymore. To them, the money spent on NYSC orientation camp every year by the federal government is a waste. For some, this money is enough to train Nigerian graduates and equip them with skills that can help them become self-employed.
Has NYSC done more harm than good? Are you one of those who want the scheme to be scrapped, what are your reasons?