Recall Youth Corps Members Posted To War-Torn States



Days ago, the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, shocked Nigerians by posting of 820 graduates to war-torn Borno State to serve their fatherland for one year. The deployment was announced by Margaret Dakama, the Head, Public Relations Unit of NYSC in Gombe State, who said, apart from the 1090 2014 Batch ‘A’ corps members posted to Gombe, a neighbouring state to Borno, the 820 corps members posted to Borno would be camped for three weeks at Malam-Sidi Orientation Camp in Yobe.

The impression given is that after the three weeks camping period, the corps members would be posted to towns and villages in Borno, where they are to remain for one year under a scheme that many even believe has diminished in relevance. Since the beginning of this year alone, Borno State has remained the hotbed of incessant Boko Haram attacks with not less than 10 of such attacks this year alone.

In all the attacks, many residents have been reported killed and their houses and other properties razed with little effort by the country’s security personnel to checkmate the Boko Haram insurgents who invade these communities.

The situation in Borno and other of the Boko Haram states like Yobe and Adamawa has resulted in serious confusion. The emergency declared by President Goodluck Jonathan in these three states has failed to achieved the desired result. The military and other security agencies in the country tell us about successful raids, yet the number of insurgents keep increasing and their attacks more ferocious.

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It is therefore disappointing that the NYSC could even contemplate posting to volatile areas innocent, unarmed Nigerians whose parents have toiled day and night to get them educated and who have become the hopes of their parents and sibling. Most of these young graduates posted to the war-torn states are children of the poor, while the children of the rich in the society are posted to choice areas in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt.

What is the justification of sending graduates to these areas to remain on death row for one year serving a country that even hardly cares whether they live or die? Can the management of NYSC send their own children to these hot spots?

Corps members have been killed in the past after being posted to volatile areas. In 2011, corps members became a major target for lynching by thugs and aggrieved residents protesting alleged electoral malpractices. The corpses of those murdered were  returned to their parents while President Jonathan described them as heroes of democracy. That was all.

We therefore condemn the posting by the NYSC and call on the management to reverse the decision by recalling these youths and posting them to safer havens.