Bill to amend the 1999 Constitution to discontinue the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, the scheme is an evil plot against Nigerian youths and not in the interest of the nation, a civil society group has posited.
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 cannot be overemphasised.
Established on May 22, 1973, by the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon under Decree No. 24 of 1973, the primary objective of the NYSC scheme 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, however, Comrade Ikpa said 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 him, 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,” Ikpa noted 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 this is the crucial moment in history to reinforce the essence of the exercise.
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.
“The relevance of the NYSC in contemporary Nigeria cannot be overemphasised. 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 realise that hundreds of thousands of young Nigerian graduates look forward to participating in the one-year mandatory service.
“They also failed to realise 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 CSO posited.
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