Many ills plague the NYSC scheme. Corruption is numero uno. On the average, NYSC officials are painfully corrupt. If a leeway exists in a system, it is naïve to think that it wouldn’t be exploited. Everything from redeployments to disappearance from places of primary assignment could be arranged with the right amount of grease.
Ridiculous levies would be assigned on corps members by leaders within the corps member community itself with the active connivance of the NYSC officials. I must also mention and give kudos to authorities in Lagos who detected and outed several people – as much as 300 – who had obtained forged redeployment credentials. I do not know what disciplinary measures were taken against them but I know of some that at least did not get their passing-out certificates as at when due.
Rumour has it that a single corps member is kitted (the kit includes two pairs of socks, a crested vest, a jacket, a pair of trousers, two white vests, a belt, a cap, a pair of jungle boots and one pair of white boots, all of very questionable quality) with about N55,000. This is the first source of funds leakage.
For the quality of those items, that amount, if true, is too much. Personally, the two white vests issued to me became rags and they couldn’t even perform this new duty satisfactorily.
My friend did some arithmetic on the assumption that:
3000 graduates called-up per batch
3000×37 (states and the FCT) = 111000
3 batches in a year= 333000 corpers per year
N19800 allowee per month
N6,593,400,000 spent per month
N59,340,200,000 spent per year (assuming they only get 9 months allowee)
She went on to say that youth service be made voluntary. She argued that the security situation in the country (read: the North) was deplorable and that camp facilities were bad. She argued, interestingly, that teaching for instance didn’t count as useful experience to employers (the ones that matter anyways). These are all valid arguments.
But the baby shouldn’t be thrown out with the bath water. Let us assume that the NYSC doesn’t exist and all 333000 are instantly dumped in the labour market and on to other postgraduate endeavours. Let us assume that half of this number find jobs, become self-employed, and pursue further education. It follows to assume that the remaining half is utterly jobless. The NYSC takes that entire number in for about a year and pays them a monthly stipend which unfortunately is sometimes delayed.
Yes, everyone will eventually pass out from the corps, but that’s one less year of hopeless despair. I could be wrong.Not all states have bad camp facilities. I asked my friend where the person who told her about camps had served. She said Lagos. I laughed really hard. I have been at the camp in Lagos. I half-served in Kogi, and I am one of those honestly qualified to say, “bad camp facilities”.
The orientation camp at Asaya-Kabba, Kogi, had no fence, though the military had it thoroughly guarded. The toilets were poo– excuse the pun – and you’d be best served to find a spot in the many bushes that were around. I arrived camp on Wednesday and slept in the open till Friday when a room previously employed as storage space was cleared for us. If you had respiratory problems, you couldn’t come near where I had to sleep for the better part of 3 weeks.
The sand (and hence dust) on the bare uncemented floor could build a small house. Yet, if you asked 90% of us at the close of camp if we’d enjoyed our stay, you’d get an overwhelming yes. For me, it was camp and I (and I suspect a good number of corps members) took it in our strides. Back at home, some people probably don’t have it as good as they got in camp. Such is the poverty that pervades the land.
To Be Continued….
Written By | Kayode Faniyi