By Kemi Kasumu
“What does NYSC or the nation as a whole stand to gain from decamping corpers for irrational and flimsy excuses? The effect is counter-productive. It wastes the efforts of serious-minded graduates while Yahoo Yahoo and cultist graduates multiply on our streets. What’s in a short knicker and what’s in a long skirt? NYSC is killing flies with a sledge-hammer.”
Barely five days after two Christian female youth corpers were expelled from the camp of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Ebonyi State for refusing to accept what they see as immoral dresses called camp uniforms, precisely Saturday 9th November 2019, and the authorities’ action was condemned by both Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), the Service is said to have initiated another process for decamping another candidate, this time a Muslim female youth corper for the same reason in Lagos.
The latest development occurred at the Iyana Ipaja, Lagos State orientation camp of the NYSC where a female Muslim corper refused Tuesday 12th November 2019 to use the conventional short knicker following which NYSC authorities was alleged to have initiated the process for decamping her and, if that is correct, she may be sent out of the camp this Wednesday 13th November, 2019.
This has necessitated intervention of MURIC by which the Islamic rights group is adding a new twist to the NYSC’s short knicker furore demanding that it is time to review the NYSC camp training.
In a press statement sent to The DEFENDER and signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola on Wednesday, the civil society organization berated NYSC for sacrificing morality on the altar of militarization.
It called for immediate review of the NYSC training camp activities to allow female corpers, whose creeds forbid them from wearing short knickers to freely and willingly partake in the activities.
MURIC said, “NYSC has placed military options above moral issues. It is affecting young ones in both Christianity and Islam. This is capable of destroying the moral fabrics of our society. What kind of leadership is NYSC trying to produce for the nation? Is it a God-fearing leadership that will give the nation good governance or one that has no fear of Allah that will embezzle the people’s funds, abuse power while in office and deprive the citizens of basic infrastructural facilities?
“NYSC should go into retrospection. What has it achieved in more than three decades of its existence? What has been the impact of its training on the youth? Our streets have been taken over by an army of jobless graduates. Yahoo Yahoo is the order of the day. Our graduates are heavily militarized. Cultism, kidnapping and ritual killing are their hobbies. Materialism is their religion. They are in a hurry to get rich. Meanwhile Nigeria holds its breath and trembles.
“But NYSC can do better if it pays attention to morality and vocational training instead of concentrating on physical fitness, climbing obstacles, crawling under barbed wires and other military exercises like marching, military parade, etc. Of what use have these activities been to the graduates? Of what use have those activities been to national development?
“What is the purpose of teaching graduates how to march on parade when they are not expected to continue military drills after camp? Why are we training them to cross obstacles and crawl under sharp objects when the training does not include the use of arms? Corpers finish up the one-year ritual without knowing how to cock a rifle or how to halt an advancing target for identification. It is sheer window-dressing.
“NYSC camp modus operandi is as irrelevant as it is distractive. As far as we are concerned, physical training for graduates in present day Nigeria is peripheral. It is their moral training that is tangential. It is a misplacement of priorities. A nation that has been dragged behind by corruption, a nation whose growth has been retarded by immorality cannot afford to ignore warnings coming from the altar and the minbar.
The organization suggested the way forward.
“What does NYSC or the nation as a whole stand to gain from decamping corpers for irrational and flimsy excuses? The effect is counter-productive. It wastes the efforts of serious-minded graduates while Yahoo Yahoo and cultist graduates multiply on our streets. What’s in a short knicker and what’s in a long skirt? NYSC is killing flies with a sledge-hammer.
“The way forward is to de-emphasise physical and pseudo-military exercises. NYSC handlers should turn attention to the reorientation of our young graduates during camping. Many of them are cynical about Nigeria. NYSC can partner with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in this regard. Lectures and interactive sessions on patriotism will go a long way to give corpers a new mindset. Motivational speakers should be on call.
“Besides, the period should be used for vocational training. This will change our young ones into entrepreneurs and reduce the number of jobless youths. Leadership retreat is another angle that should be considered. Our young graduates need to begin to see leadership as service to humanity. The camping period can also be used for anti-corruption campaigns. Ideologues of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may come in handy here.”
MURIC rubbished NYSC’s rationale for choice of short knickers for corpers in camp.
“The argument that corpers need short knickers for military drills does not hold any water at all. We have been able to prove that those drills are unnecessary. Corpers are not soldiers. Neither are they members of uniformed organisations. Their stay in camp is ephemeral, sometimes three or four weeks. 99.999% of them may never put on any uniform again in their lives. What then is the purpose of laying so much emphasis on drills, crossing the obstacle, climbing nets, jumping over heights and ascending walls? Has the Third World War started?
“Nigerians should shine their eyes. Those military exercises were introduced at the time because NYSC was started by the military. They added all those irrelevant aspects because those are activities best known to soldiers. But we should review the camping activities now that we are in a civilian regime.
“We therefore appeal to the National Assembly (NASS) to take an urgent look at activities in NYSC camps with a view to reviewing them as discussed above. This is a democracy. The NYSC decree should be radically reviewed by the NASS. The Ministry of Internal Affairs is also advised to study the matter and bring it to the attention of the presidency. We call on the leadership of CAN to join us in the call for a review of the modus operandi of NYSC training camp.
“In our closing remarks, we reject NYSC’s excuse for insisting on using short knickers. We assert that corpers do not need any exercise that cannot be done with skirts. We call for the introduction of re-orientation lectures, leadership training talks and anti-corruption campaigns to replace irrelevant military drills. We also advocate vocational training for corpers in order to turn their attention to entrepreneurship rather than remaining wild goose chasers of non-available white-collar jobs,” MURIC said.