It is non-debatable that the security of National Youth Service corps members serving in different parts of the country should be regarded more seriously. Corps members, especially those who are posted to states far away from their ethnic region or higher institution often have to grapple with security challenges as a result of their ethnicity or otherwise.
The insurgence of Boko Haram attacks across northern states has made the situation more dreadful for the corps members and their families. While some of them outrightly refuse to report to the orientation camp if posted to one of the northern states, some still do, but with a considerable amount of apprehension.
The brutal killing of some corps members during the 2011 General Elections also heightened the ‘fear of the north’. Vanguard News reports that over 30 corps members might have been killed during post-election violence in different northern states. This was followed by the immediate withdrawal of most corps members from such states.
However, corps members, especially those serving in the north, are still faced with security challenges as a result of the Boko Haram attacks occurring in random northern states. While many refuse to stay in such states, those who do put their families and friends in constant worry over their security.
For such reasons, the Punch News report today that the National Youth Service Corps may relocate corps members from Kaduna and Kano states for security reasons is very welcoming.
As a result of the recent bombings in Kaduna and Kano states, the National Youth Service Corps may relocate corps members from the states for security reasons.
The Deputy Director, Public Relations of the NYSC, Mr. Peter Atilola, told SUNDAY PUNCH that though there was currently no plan to withdraw corps members en masse from the two states, corps members serving in those states could apply individually to be relocated on the grounds of worsened security situation.
“For now, there is no plan for relocation of corps members from Kaduna and Kano states, but if any corps member feels he or she is not safe in these places, he or she can apply and would be relocated,” he said.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Youth Development, Bolaji Abdullahi, had ordered NYSC not to post corps members to Borno and Yobe states late last year when there were frequent bombings and gun attacks by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect, resulting in the death of hundreds of people.
The corps members who were initially posted to the states were directed to observe their orientation exercise in Benue and Nassarawa states, and were reposted to all states of the federation, except for Borno and Yobe States.
With some deadly bomb attacks in the past few months including Easter bomb attack which killed about 40 people, the security situation has drastically worsened in Kaduna and Kano states, resulting in some residents relocating to other parts of the country they considered safer.
The Special Adviser to the minister, Mr. Julius Ogunro, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the policy of the Ministry for Youth Development on the security of corps members remained that corps members would not be posted to any part of the country where their security could not be guaranteed.
But while Kaduna and Kano are the states termed as ‘insecure’ for now, who knows which will be next?
The move by NYSC to grant relocation to corps members who apply is commended, however, more needs to be done to protect the lives of our youths. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say that there should be a review of the NYSC Act to protect the interests of corps members not only in terms of their security but also its benefits and widely reported difficulties they pass through during their service year.
News Source: Punch News