Who will be a voice for the Youth Corps members? #ProtectTheCorpers

In light of the recent tragedy in Northern Nigeria, here is a special call to action driven by the Future Project.
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We all know that at the moment, almost everyone is upset at the spate of avoidable deaths of youth corps members across the country. It did not start today – from natural disasters to rape and murder, ethno-religious crisis to post-elections violence, these young men and women serving their country find themselves easy targets to be killed and maimed – and not just in the north.

Yes, we are angry now but 1) How much longer will that anger last before we all go back to our merry lives and forget all about this? 2) How will anger actually lead to any solutions unless we do something?

The government has promised compensation for the families of those like Ukeoma AikFavour and Obinna Okpokiri who lost their lives, but this is not enough. Their deaths should not be in vain – it should lead a fundamental change in the way that the youth corps scheme is implemented.

Ukeoma AikFavour - Posted the status update that has put a face to this national tragedy

Obinna Okpokiri who left the UK to serve his country was beaten and set on fire

The Future Project (which runs The Future Awards), in partnership with the National Youth Council, AIESEC, SleevesUp Nigeria, Friends of Aik, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria and the EnoughisEnough Nigeria Coalition has decided to take up this cause.

We are aware that many initiatives have been undertaken in the past – but we believe it is time to move from anger and protest and to make this a broad-based national campaign. It is also a fine opportunity for us to put our hard won democracy to work – to move from protest and activism to advocacy and productive democratic lobby.

So, over the next nine-months, we are implementing a solution-oriented approach that involves 1) Engaging government on a policy level to restructure and reform the NYSC in order to protect corps members in the interim and then to completely overhaul the scheme in the long term so that it is actually useful to the nation. 2) Supporting this Policy Engagement with a wide-ranging public and media campaign to ensure pressure is sustained on the government.

Starting from tomorrow therefore, we are activating a #ProtectTheCorpers campaign that will involve both online and offline strategies to engage the authorities, the media and young people.

The strategy is simple –

1) We are gathering 100, 000 signatures for a petition that is going to the Presidency with a 7-point demand (see demand below) to restructure the scheme and protect the corps members.

2) Request an urgent meeting with the Minister of Youth and the Director-General of the NYSC to implement immediate action points.

3) Begin an aggressive lobby at the legislature, especially the Senate and House Committees on Youth, towards include the deletion of the programme from the section of the Constitution and placing it as an Act of Parliament with a revamped structure, as recommended by the Senate Spokesperson, Ike Ekweremadu.

Serving Our Nation

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

1) Read the demands below and sign the petition on www.thefuturenigeria.com/protectthecorpers – and get at least 20 of your friends, family and associates to sign the petition.

2) If you have any direct influence with any legislator who can help with introducing and facilitating this bill, please get in touch with us at info@thefuturenigeria.com.

3) Use the #ProtectTheCorpers Hashtag on your Twitter and Facebook Accounts Daily, Use the Avatar/Display Picture on Your Facebook/Twitter/BBM Accounts and Send this Message To All Your Contacts.

4) Support this initiative with resources or donation to sustain the publicity and lobbying drive over the next 9 months (our working time-frame). Send a mail to info@thefuturenigeria.com titled SUPPORT.

5) Join the ProtectTheCorpers group on Facebook as well as the ProtectTheCorpers group on Yahoo.

6) Send us an e-mail on info@thefuturenigeria.com or call us on with any suggestions or how you can or want to help.

7) Visit www.thefuturenigeria.com/protectthecorpers for more information.

7-POINT DEMAND TO #PROTECTTHECORPERS

1. Hotspots – Identify violence-prone “hot-spots” states and/or districts and ensure that corps member posting to these areas is voluntary. This voluntary posting must also come with an institutionalised incentive.

2. Emergency Fund – Institute an NYSC Contingency Fund that is easily accessible in pre-crisis and crisis situations.

3. Decentralisation – The command structure of the NYSC should be devolved in terms of accommodation, welfare, wages and security to avoid red tape during times of crisis. State governments should be primarily responsible for welfare as well as security – including immediate evacuation during conflict.

4. Compensation – Corps Members posted out of their states of residence should be beneficiaries of a comprehensive life insurance policy as a compensation structure in time of unavoidable loss.

5. Data Management – Digitise the database of corps member with location, contact information and total number per state. This is to ensure easy pre and post-crisis accessibility and tracking.

6. Representation – Institutionalise an alternate platform for corps members to interact with administration on welfare and security. This structure will interface directly with the Corps Commandants at state level and the Director-General at federal level.

7. Full-scale Reform – Constitute a National Youth Service Corps Reform Committee that will recommend full scale structural and policy reforms for the scheme and make binding recommendations to the Federal Government to be implemented into a National Youth Service Act.

WHY CORPERS?

1. Because they are in their locations compulsorily – they have no choice, they have to complete the programme to start off their lives. In essence, they are sitting ducks for violence.

2. Because they are undergoing a special service for the country, and so deserve the country’s special attention.

3. Because they are young – and the future of the nation.

Let’s ensure that we put our government under pressure immediately after the elections. This is a good place to start making our democracy work! Those ‘corpers’ cannot die in vain.

#ProtectTheCorpers. #ProtectTheFuture.

43 Comments on Who will be a voice for the Youth Corps members? #ProtectTheCorpers
  • THE AMAKA April 29, 2011 at 4:35 am

    JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL! I’m sure if all the bella naija readers aired out their true feelings and opinions, most of them will not get published on this site. so i won’t even waste my time writing a whole essay.
    all corp members should serve in their political zones, and thats, that.
    RIP

    • sweetie April 29, 2011 at 6:53 am

      my point exactly because the anger i feel right now and the words/venom i feel like pouring out, Bella Naija would have me banned for quite some time … so i am just goin g to say… i pray for the families of these corpers and may their souls RIP.

  • Bukky April 29, 2011 at 4:57 am

    I dont know what other parts of Nigeria where youth corpers have been maimed.Pray do tell Bella Naija?

  • chiko April 29, 2011 at 5:25 am

    to me nysc scheme has outlived its purpose.i would rather have it scrapped,yes i said it,cos the unity it was meant to achieve has not been achieved as we all can see.to keep repeatin the same thin when its nt workin,looks dumb to me.but i knw some people wont want that because they bene4it more 4rm it than others.they use corpers 4 the manpower they lack in their schools , hospitals etc because they dnt want western education,no need to mention names,the ppl am talkin about know themselves.i served in that area,the condition was so bad and and i was always ill.when i couldnt bear it anymore,i quit.immediately,i went back home,there was a riot in that area.i continually thank the Lord 4 leadin me out when he did.i still stand by my decision today and believe it didnt stop me 4rm bein where i am today. so the nysc is not the end all be all, it should be scrapped,thats my humble opinion

    • dami April 29, 2011 at 11:00 pm

      you have made a point that should be published…. this is quite obvious that the nysc thing has not fulfilled its purpose, it really should be scrapped or people should serve in their personal states…. simple.

  • Ogo April 29, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Obinna Okpokiri!!! We went to school together… I sure will miss you dearie!!

  • Ready April 29, 2011 at 7:58 am

    I tried to sign the petition on the website provided, but all that’s there is pretty much the same information on here & a comment section. Is the comment section supposed to be where we add our signatures? That’s not how it’s usually done so…am I missing something?

  • jay April 29, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I really don’t understand the whole idea of the programme.I used to think its purpose is for Youths to explore the country and provide job opportunities and which is not so.these young people leave their comfort zones to face struggles and hardships in some retarted places esp the North.A relative of mine dies in d process…he was serving in one of d northern states,he had Meningitis(what they claimed it was tho),ddt get proper med attention and died,and many other similar cases.
    irony of it all…the Northerners come down to South-West and they don’t want to leave after their programme cos they had the best times.
    The constution really has to be reviewed..my own opinion,NYSC shd be scrapped,its pointless!

  • Kenneth April 29, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Hi Ready,,

    Please check again. The petition is back up,, thanks.

    Please let’s all sign the petition so things can change.

  • moi April 29, 2011 at 8:23 am

    why is it always the northeners that kill the corpers? Is it bcos action is not always taken, i think the Govt. shd look into this matter cos it is a really painful situation when u go to to sch. and end up dying bcos of crises, i was a victim of north crises but i narrowly escaped. i must tell u, it is not a nice experience.

    • THE AMAKA April 29, 2011 at 8:41 am

      religion + illiteracy + poverty = violence.

  • FO FO April 29, 2011 at 8:55 am

    please when would our traditional rulers speak? when would our legislators amend the law that would make the northers to stay back in their home . they cannot walk the streets of Enugu and Lagos like a ‘freeborn’ while our people are being treated like slaves in their land. to the extent of giving them a painful death.REALLY WHO WOULD SPEAK FOR US. I always drop a tear each time i try to write about it. Since our elders are silent should we remain tongue tied? please we need to act and very fast too.

  • ugbaby April 29, 2011 at 9:04 am

    obinna okpokiri!!!! its a very sad loss. a young, always cheerful and easy going chap who had his whole future in front of him. what a way for us to loose u. bn beaten an burnt! its very sad. i cnt even get over it. seeing it here again on bella naija further confirms that he’s really dead. OH GOD!!! worst of all, our supposed leaders wont understand what this whole mess has done to us, becos they didnt loose any of theirs. im sure of that. so they will never understand. Obinna, may ur soul and that of others who died in this political mess, rest in the bossom of the good Lord. i imagine u smiling at us all, from heaven.

  • iknow - ican April 29, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Seeing these pictures has really made me one sad person. The deaths of these youths evidences the huge failure of leadership and central government. Every Nigerian should mourn, and every Nigerian over 50 should hang their heads in shame. This is the cumulation of years of blatant disregard of the epic failings of Nigeria as a society.

    No longer should we be a country that goes to the ‘drawing board’ after innocent people have placed on a chopping board. No longer should we be a nation of ‘commitees’ and ‘panels’ which investigate or look into issues such as this. We need pro-active and not merely reactionary leadership.

    I have always thought that the NYSC was too old and dated of an institution or program to deal with exigencies of modern Nigeria – and the new dangers of religious bigotry, bomb threats, Niger Delta militancy and kidnapping.

    GEJ please give us bread,peace and freedom, or walk away forever.

    These are my suggestions going forward:

    1. These kids should be given a state burial and a day of moruning should be declared.

    2. NYSC should be suspended, and its provisions expunged from our constitution and national consciousness

    3. A modernized agricultural program should be initiated in its place. This should be voluntary and organized by an independent body.

    4. Huge plantations should be ear-marked for agricultural development, dairy farming, apprenticeship schemes, farming internships with a focus to produce food crops, milk and eggs for national use and export

    5. Graduates should be posted there after graduation as the main man power. Nigerian youngsters are resourceful and hardworking – just provide the tools. By tools, we need mechanized implements used in modern day farming, and not rudimentary hoe and cutlass farming.

    6. Corpers should be paid a decent allowance and given the option of remaining as agricultural workers after the program ends, or being given a loan to set up a business (which must be a production one, not buying and selling)

    7. Any new programs should be properly policed by a special force for that purpose

    R.I.P Ukeoma and Obinna. You are our heroes.

    http://www.woahnigeria.wordpress.com

    • talking drum April 29, 2011 at 10:04 am

      I am impressed by your suggestions, if only our OGAS in aso rock and NASS would pause and think.

    • juliet April 29, 2011 at 11:09 am

      i totally agree with you.

    • dami April 29, 2011 at 11:02 pm

      beautifully written… only if some of our leaders can open computer to read this….

  • nonny April 29, 2011 at 9:59 am

    if only money,tears and words could bring them back…I’ll keep crying and say Govt go on and pay d mighty compensation to their families but No!! they r gone and gone..my friend Obinna was a wonderful man..they didnt deserve 2 die like that..This violence wont stop until all muslim leaders begin to teach their members/followers the truth as detailed in the Quaran..Murder is an offence anywhere in the world..so no one is free to do so..Mr.President please they all should be killed!!

  • juliana jude April 29, 2011 at 11:39 am

    pls in my own view NYSC shld be scrable becos they will nt compensate anytin.my sister’s case since last year they’ve nt done anytin or in alternative pple shld serve in their place nt to send innocent citizen to die forfor crime committed by wicked politicans.

  • Ekene April 29, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Currently serving in Taraba, can’t wait to pass out in June. I am really measuring Time. Though I learn something, but I still can’t fathom what it adds to my progress

  • Uchechi April 29, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Really, this is a sad story, when I read articles and see the pictures of the corp members who lost their lives, I weep knowing that their lifes was cut short in their prime.

    On the other hand, I’m grateful to God for saving my brother who was also serving in Bauchi, he was very lucky to flee just before the riot got intense after being threatened during the election.

    Please the NYSC scheme needs to be reformed, I’m in support of corp members serving within their states or regions, or scrapping the program. The blooshed of innocent youths is too much abeg. May God comfort all those who lost dear ones during the crisis.

  • Nutella April 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    What irks me the most is how tacit the Federal Government of Nigeria has been since this whole episode. Noone has come out to address the state of the nation as regards killing of Youth Corps Members. How much blood do we have to shed just to hold an election in this country? And to really add insult to injury, the DG of NYSC continually claimed that no corper died or was killed especially when there was a bomb blast. These rich politicians have their children schooling outside this country and when they do come back for the compulsory NYSC program, they have a choice of where to be posted to for the Orientation Camp and Primary assignment. How many young nigerians are that privileged? And till now neither the President nor the Minister for Youth and Sports or even the National Security adviser has said anything meaningful. How then are we assured that these blood-thirsty northerners won’t do worse if they had the opportunity..knowing full well that all our so-called leaders will do is look the other way as they are too scared to step on toes.
    God is watching. Since our leaders are too weak to do the right thing. And judgement is coming. I graduated with a 1st class and our dear president was at my convocation where i was the valedictorian. Did i get a scholarship? NO! Did i get an award? NO! Just a presidential handshake. Do they value such things in Nigeria? I think not. Are nigerian youth valued? I doubt that. Then they will all be screaming blue murder when the very best travel abroad to make those places better with their brains. NYSC should be scrapped. I have not served, i have no intentions of serving. Northerners cannot continue to walk free in my state and region whereas my kinsmen are being slaughtered in their states. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
    Rest In Perfect Peace, Ukeoma, Obinna and the many other corpers that we don’t even know about..yet!

  • niyoo April 29, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Very unfortunate incident! I get that these people are in those zones because they don’t have a choice. But the issue needs to be tackled from the very foundation.
    Who speaks for the banker who works ‘out of station’ in bauchi and is killed.
    Who speaks for the missionary who evangelizes in Kano and was burnt along with his family and congergation in his church.
    Who speaks for the Federal Govt worker posted to a ministry in Kaduna?
    We should tackle religious and ethnic violence!!! full stop! if NYSC is revamped or scrapped, what about other Nigerians ….. the other innocent citizens that lose their lives if there’s a recurrence? what happens then? we start a new movement?

    Lets tackle religious and ethnic violence! fish out the culprits, instigators, financiers and backers!!!!

    RIP! Your death was not in vain. Even if the Federal Govt doesn’t honour you, the average nigerian remembers you. Those that had a hand in your death will lose their own in worse circumstances. everything they work for will go up in flames!!!! [no1 should tell me not to curse them o

  • Kenneth April 29, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Please let’s sign the petition so the government can actually hear these comments. Thanks guys!

    • Miss Face April 29, 2011 at 9:58 pm

      My brother, signing is not the problem because I am going to sign right away. The problem is with how our system works. Those u refer to as “the government” have certain interests that nothing much would be done in those areas where all the killing happened. The culprits would never be brought to book for fear of losing certain selfish ties with these people. In other countries, as soon as the commander-in-chief heard this, some drastic measures would have been put in place and we wouldnt be here today struggling for our voices to be heard. I will sign that petition because nobody should die the way these corps memebers did, but as someone pointed out, no use writing long essays,I have soo much I would want to point out but………. Only God CAN deliver this country, so unfair, so very unfair!

  • obi-talk April 29, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    NYSC should be scrapped. its a waste of time. I totally dislike the whole and guess what, I’ve had that opinion for many years. now see what has happened. the only petition I will be signing is the one that says scrapp the whole thing.

    Gosh when will we learn as a country….

  • Miss Face April 29, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Just signed the petition, the more i typed my comment, the more infuriated i became.Where is justice in this country? Trying hard not to say much. My heart goes out to their families.

  • Omo O April 30, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Honestly Bella, give me permission to insult these people! Please, I need to insult these almanjiris!!!!! I am so bitter about these deaths.

  • Miebaka D. T. May 1, 2011 at 4:39 am

    It is time we got our acts right. The NYSC was created as part of the war effort at rehabilitation, reconciliation, and reconstruction in 1973. Over the years the efforts at these Rs have become illusionary with attendant disastrous results! Doing a rethink without scrapping will be unfortunate. The North had never been ready for these Rs. No Youth Corper should at best serve outside his or her geo-political Zone!!!!

  • Garba May 1, 2011 at 6:29 am

    corpers were killed,raped and maimed in Bauchi,Plateau,South east,South south and south east.Its a pity lives are wasted this way.RIP.

    • Demo Laz May 1, 2011 at 10:10 am

      Garba, corps members are only killed, raped, and maimed targeted by their ethnic origins in Bauchi and other northern Nigerian states. Not South-South or South- East. So stop lying and stop trying to deflect attention from where the problem is.

  • Onyeka O May 1, 2011 at 11:19 am

    I suggest dat de federal govt shd nt hesisted 2 do smtin.Agn if al de abv suggestn shd be implementd,den we cn beliv dere will be change.I pray dat de deseased souls shd RIP.ADIEU!ADIEU!!ADIEU!!!

  • larry May 1, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    please i want to use the opportunity to appeal to the Government to do something about the northern leaders and some of the northern presidential candidates such as buhari, and Ibb. thank u

  • Ak May 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    I was born in the north&have spent all my life here. My state is considered one of the 19 northern states,yet no where do i feel more of a 2nd class citizen than where i grew up. The fact is most of the ‘core’ north do not want those they consider ‘outsiders’ (including people from the middle belt) in their states! To them, the ‘core’ north is Nigeria and everyone else is expendable!NYSC can no longer unite nigeria and is merely an avenue to obtain cheap labour, it s corpers,a target for every disgruntled element in society. Scrap NYSC now! Stop providing these people with innocent youth they can practise their butchering skills on!

  • samuel michael May 1, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    the movement shudunt be ours alone it should be for every body.i mean the same way the nigerian youths came out to vote for the president the shud turnout in the same maner.both entatainers.shud join the movement.locate people like ceo face of hope,nd her ambasedor,nkiru sivanus.her dad rochas,ekweremadu,ngige,dora akunyeli,pat utomi,fela dorutoye,rechard mofe,jega,i mean alot out there.we were forced to do dis national duty so as long as we fourth,nd parteck in the movment to transform our grate nation is for all the youths.plz we need this reform only GOD knows wat the berieved family wud be going tru.sum were sopose to be the bread winer of the family but thev lost that goal of ancoring therer dreamz to riality.may there gentle soul rest in the bosom of the lord.God be wiv u all and lift ur families ur all my heroes.adieu.smile newly inducted OTONDO I REMOVE H DRESS FOR UNA.

  • bolaji May 1, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    it’s so dishearten that some people don’t know the length @ which dis matter is going the points highlighted above to me is not enough cus we want to cause a change it’s either NYSC is scrapped or corps members sud serve in their states. young sharps are been wasted, ladies raped to death to wat do we hold dat? serving our father’s land? we want a change!!!!!

  • Ifeanyi Odigwe May 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Thia so called 7- point is just silly. This would not prevent one death. “Life insurance” never heard anyone take a life insurance on voluntary work.
    I suggest a one point agenda.
    SCRAP NYSC.
    We should know when to reform,we should also know when to move on.
    The killings in the North would never stop on going since 1966. Wake up dear.
    Life is not PHCN 99% success is a failure when it come to life. NO ONE life is what all the so-called positives of NYSC.
    Its time to move on. I would sign a move on petition not this 7 point agenda that does nothing to prevent future death of corpers

  • adeoye May 2, 2011 at 12:46 am

    I’m afraid nothing will be done…if e saty here and talk till thy kingdom come they(the govt) would not do anything.Have you forgotten election is over and they have nothing else to campaign for, so they have all gone back to their money making factories. Imagine when the minimum wage bill was passed just because it was almost election day. These people will not do a thing except a family member of theirs was involved,then maybe they would talk of compensation…how much do you want to compensate the family of the victims that would be equal to their lost lives…NYSC is shit and it cannot remain, if not reformed then it should be scrapped.

  • gg May 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    its sad… i blogged bout iyke 2weeks ago here—-> http://runningon6.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/rip/

  • Suashee May 3, 2011 at 11:11 am

    the northerners never serve in the south, if they do they are a handful…so why send southerners to the north to be maimed and killed…in other words, NYSC should be scrapped as it has failed to serve the purpose of national integration!

    • THE AMAKA May 3, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      how many of them even go to school or graduate from uni sef? not as much as people from the south, thats why a lot of them don’t serve.

  • ANGEL June 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    With tears in my eyes l commiserate with the families of this corpers.future of tommorrow,hope of their homes were cut at there prime.evrybody that has hands in there death must surely died by sword

  • JULIET June 20, 2011 at 12:11 am

    infact, am still thanking God that i survived the bombing attack,NYSC does not worth dying for so it should be scrapped.

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