NYSC: CSO Condemns Bill Seeking to Scrap Scheme as Evil Plot Against Nigerian Youths

The bill to amend the 1999 constitution to discontinue the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme is an evil plot against Nigerian youths and not in the interest of the nation, a civil society group has said.

Kicking against the move, the Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) said the purveyors of conflict and agents of destabilisation are at work to earnestly set the country up in flames.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, Executive Secretary, Comrade Isaac Ikpa said the relevance of the scheme to contemporary Nigeria can’t be overemphasised.

Established on May 22, 1973, by the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon under Decree No. 24 of 1973, the
the primary objective was to reconcile and reintegrate Nigerians after the civil war.

But the lawmaker representing Andoni-Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency of Rivers State, Awaji-Inombek Abiante, had argued that the scheme has overstayed its usefulness.

In reaction, Comrade Ikpa said that the scheme has instead evolved over the years in fulfilling its mandate of bridging ethnic and religious divisions and fostering the spirit of Nigerian nationalism.

He noted that thousands of young Nigerian graduates still look forward to participating in the one-year mandatory service.

According to Ikpa, the scheme also provides most youths with the opportunity for self-reliance in preparation for life ahead through the allowances paid and the experiences they go through.

Describing the move as “anti-youth, anti-people and misplaced”, he added that it is targeted at removing the last institutional framework for national stability and cohesion to satisfy the criminal mindset of a few Nigerians hiding in the National Assembly as lawmakers.

He, therefore, called on all well-meaning Nigerians to “see this attempt as an affront to our sensibilities by a select few that are hell-bent on destabilising the youthful population in Nigeria, which on its own is a recipe for conflict”.

The CSO urged all Nigerians to mobilise in their large number to stop the bill as quickly as possible, adding that if there is any crucial moment in history to reinforce the essence of the exercise, it’s now.

It, however, called on the leadership of the National Assembly to put the interest of the country at heart and halt further deliberations on the grossly ill-informed bill.

The CSO also urged the Federal Government to do all within its means to ensure that those against the interest of the country do not succeed in disorienting its youthful population.

Read the full statement below:

This is indeed a sad chapter in the book of our dear country in the sense that it has become evident that the purveyors of conflict and the agents of destabilization are at work to earnestly set the country up in flames by muting the idea of scrapping the National Youth Service Scheme.

The relevance of the NYSC in contemporary Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. That the NYSC has evolved over the years in fulfilling its mandate of bridging ethnic and religious divisions in Nigeria and fostering the spirit of Nigerian nationalism is a statement of fact.

It is, therefore, worrisome that some vested interest would attempt to push for the scrapping of such as initiative that is well-grounded to address the various ethnic and religious agitations and tensions in the country.

It is, therefore, the considered view of the Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency that the call for the scrapping of the NYSC is not only disjointed, it is also of poor taste and a puerile attempt at plunging the country into a crisis of unimaginable proportion.

It is also our considered view that the selfish proponents of the Bill seeking for the scrapping of the NYSC failed to realize that hundreds of thousands of young Nigerian graduates look forward to participating in the one-year mandatory service.

They also failed to realize that the one year service year provides most youths with the opportunity for self-reliance in preparation for life ahead through the allowances paid to them and the experiences they go through in their service year.

The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency is therefore alarmed that the Bill seeking for the scrapping of the NYSC has reached second reading in the House of Representatives. This is indicative that patriotism in Nigeria has been thrown to the dogs.

It is also indicative that some people have sold their souls to the devil in return for a plate of porridge hence the inglorious attempt at seeking for the scrapping of such an initiative that is more needed and relevant in the country now in the critical point of our existence where there have been politically motivated calls for separation in various parts of the country.

The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency states unequivocal terms that the Bill is anti-youth, anti-people, misplaced and targeted at removing the last institutional framework for national stability and national cohesion to satisfy the criminal mindset of a few Nigerians hiding in the National Assembly as lawmakers.

As a result of the press conference calling on all well-meaning Nigerians to see this attempt as an affront to our sensibilities by a select few that are hell-bent on destabilizing the youthful population in Nigeria, which on its own is a recipe for conflict.

We strongly believe that the agents seeking to destabilize the country are behind the Bill and call on all Nigerians to mobilize in their large number to stop the Bill as quickly as possible because if there is any crucial moment in history to reinforce the essence of the Scheme, it’s now.

It remains our stance that the contributions of the NYSC to the country’s socio-economic development remain outstanding. This is also because the NYSC has evolved over the years and well-positioned to give the youths an avenue to realize their potentials through the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) Programme.

We also wish to repeat that the NYSC is set up deliberately to advance national cohesion and unity. And if there’s any crucial moment in history to reinforce the essence of the Scheme, it’s now. This much all well-meaning Nigerians and relevant stakeholders must come to terms with to see the folly in the call the scrapping of such a laudable initiative.

The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency states that scrapping the NYSC would be a fundamental blunder. As such, it must cease to be a topic of discussion. We are calling on the leadership of the National Assembly to put the interest of the country at heart at this critical point of our existence.

The leadership of the National Assembly must halt further deliberations on the grossly ill-informed Bill seeking for the scrapping of the NYSC. They must rise above political considerations as the peculiarities of time require the sincerity of heart and purpose.

The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency is also calling on parents and guardians to join their voice in condemning this ignoble call in the national interest. We also call on other concerned stakeholders to lend their voices as well.

We are also calling on the federal government to do all within its means to ensure that those against the interest of the country do not succeed in disorienting the youthful population of Nigeria, as the country cannot stand any youth upheaval that might arise if the NYSC is scrapped.

The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency supports the laudable initiatives in the NYSC, and our commitment to the sustenance of the NYSC remains unflinching.
Thank you all for your time and attention.

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