The spate of insecurity in the north is negatively affecting participation in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. The north is gradually becoming a zone where few corps members are willing to serve. Many of them have found a perfect excuse to seek redeployment from the north in the wanton killings embarked on by members of the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram.
For example, out of the 2,413 corps members posted to Kano State, where the terrorists have sustained their attacks on Kano, the state capital, 900 have applied to be redeployed.
The situation in the north has forced the NYSC management to rethink its policy on redeployment. Unlike before when the onus was on the corps members to prove beyond reasonable doubt that their reasons for seeking redeployment is genuine, they need not do that anymore, especially for those posted to the north.
The NYSC management confirmed yesterday that it would not reject any application for redeployment on security grounds.
The confirmation came in the wake of rumours that some of its offices in states in the north had been denying corps members seeking redeployment on security grounds. The NYSC management in Adamawa State, one of the terror-stricken states in the north, was alleged to have insisted that redeployment would only be on the grounds of marriage and ill health.
This was said to be based on the improved security situation in the state. However, gunmen, suspected to be Boko Haram members, last week attacked Ganye in Ganye Local Government Area of the state during which they killed some people in an attack on the police station in the town.
The Director of Public Relations at the NYSC National Headquarters, Mrs. Bose Aderibigbe, in a telephone conversation with THISDAY yesterday, described as untrue claims that the organisation has been rejecting redeployment applications from corps members posted to terror-stricken states.
She said: “That is not true. Adamawa was the last place we visited and everybody that applied for redeployment was released.”
Another official of the NYSC who spoke off the record corroborated Aderibigbe’s statement.
“It is not possible for the NYSC or any of its state offices to issue such a directive that we would only redeploy on grounds of marriage or for medical reasons. With the security situation in the north, every application for redeployment is entertained. The corps members do not even need to lie and get false health certificates,” the official said.
There has been an increase in applications for redeployment from the north following the activities of Boko Haram and the attack on NYSC members in Bauchi serving as ad hoc election officials during the 2011 general election, which claimed the lives of 10 corps members. Many of the corps members posted to states such as Kano, Bauchi, Borno and Adamawa, among others, barely wait for the orientation to end before seeking redeployment from the states.
However, northern states such as Zamfara, Kebbi and others that have been relatively peaceful have had to resort to enticing the corps members with ‘juicy offer’ to stay.
Meanwhile, Enugu State Governor, Mr. Sullivan Chime, has directed government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in the state not to reject corps members posted to them for primary assignment.
He said that this was to fulfil government’s policy on the acceptance of corps members aimed at ensuring that the objective of the scheme was realised.
Chime, represented by his deputy, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi, at the closing ceremony of the 2013 orientation for the NYSC Batch A, commended the corps members for maintaining high level of discipline throughout the exercise, urging them to maintain same in their places of primary assignment.
He also urged the corps members to regard places of primary assignment as their homes with a view to improving the lives of the people through their activities.
Chairman, NYSC Governing Board and the state Commissioner for Youth and Sports, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Joseph Omeh, urged the corps members to contribute positively to the communities they would be posted to for their primary assignment as a means of realising the objectives of the NYSC scheme.
He urged the corps members to take the community development aspect of their service year seriously with a view to improving on the lives of the people. Earlier in an address, the Enugu State NYSC Coordinator, Mr. Hilary Nasamu, enjoined the corps members to be humble and to respect the cultures of their host communities in order to facilitate their easy integration and acceptance by the community.
He explained that 81.7 per cent of the corps members were posted to rural areas as well as the four key sectors of education, rural health, infrastructure and agriculture in line with the policy directive of the federal government on posting of corps members.