The bill to scrap the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has scaled the second reading at the floor of the House of Representatives.
The bill which was sponsored by Mr Awaji-Inombek Abiante, member House of Representative, representing Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro constituency, Rivers State, seeks to repeal Section 315(5)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended).
The reasons highlighted by Abiante to discontinue the one year compulsory service include:
1) “Incessant killing of innocent corps members in some parts of the country due to banditry, religious extremism and ethnic violence; incessant kidnapping of innocent corps members across the country;
2) “Public and private agencies/departments are no longer recruiting able and qualified Nigerian youths, thus relying heavily on the availability of corps members who are not being well remunerated and get discarded with impunity at the end of their service year without any hope of being gainfully employed;
3) “Due to insecurity across the country, the National Youth Service Corps management now gives considerations to posting corps members to their geopolitical zone, thus defeating one of the objectives of setting up the service corps, i.e. developing common ties among the Nigerian youths and promoting national unity and integration.”
The National Youth Service scheme was borne out of the “No Victor, No Vanquished,” declaration by the Military Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, following the end of the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-70.
The scheme was established to effect the 3Rs of Rehabilitation, Reconciliation and Reconstruction of the nation then, in the face of insecurity and disunity. Ironically, what the scheme set out to overcome since 1973 now turns out to threaten its existence today.