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Redeployments Threaten NYSC Scheme

| July 29, 2012 More

Bauchi โ€” What effect will the redeployment of hundreds of corps members for the 2012 Batch ‘B’ from the crises-prone states in the North after their mandatory orientation exercise for security reason have on the objective of the scheme? Weekly Trust seeks the answer from the affected states.

Their posting to crises-prone Yobe, Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa, Bauchi and Borno states have generated deep public outcry especially from the South-West, South-East and South-South geo-political zones.

Civil society groups, opinion molders and even elders from the aforementioned zones had kept the pressure on the Federal Government to refrain from sending their sons and daughters to the crisis-ridden states. The National Assembly members joined the fray by asking the leadership of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to heed the cries. The Federal Government later succumbed to the pressure, but urged prospective corps members to report to the states where they are deployed and whosoever wanted a re-posting to do so while in camp.

Weekly Trust investigation revealed that only a handful of corps members opted to remain in the affected states after their three weeks mandatory orientation.

In Borno State, where the violence was more pronounced, corps members posted to the state but had their orientation in Benue State are yet to report to their respective places of primary assignment. Weekly Trust investigation reveals that even the officials of the NYSC are still at the orientation camp in Benue State.

It is, however, not clear whether the latest corps members will report for their primary assignment in ministries, parastatals, schools and the 27 local government areas of the state.

Borno State coordinator of the NYSC, Mr. Abraham Tizhe told Weekly Trust that he was still in Benue State. “We are yet to leave here (Benue). This is all I can tell you for now,” the coordinator said.

Despite the option of seeking for redeployment for the corps members, findings in some ministries and schools in Maiduguri reveal that some Batch ‘A’ corps members had remained in the state.

“It is a matter of choice to either remain and serve here or leave. I chose to remain here and serve my fatherland,” Rachael James, a corps members of Plateau State origin said.

Rachael, who is serving in a secondary school in Maiduguri, said her life is in the hands of God. “Where do you think is safe in Nigeria today?” she asked, rhetorically. “There are crisis even in my state and if I refused to serve in Borno, where do you think I should go?” she asked.

Malam Usman Mahmud, a proprietor of a private school in Maiduguri said it will not augur well if corps members resist to come to Maiduguri.

“We relied heavily on the corps members. Most of them teach very well and the impact of their absence will tell a lot if they decline to come,” he said.

Though Borno State government has recently recruited many medical doctors, the fact still remains that hospitals in rural areas are mostly manned by NYSC doctors.

In the event that that they refuse to report to the state, the situation will negatively affect health care delivery services.

Unlike in Borno, some corps members posted to Kano State had their one week mandatory orientation at the NYSC camp in the state. However, the Corps secretariat last Thursday, looked eerily deserted, with only a handful of corps members chatting wearily at the entrance of its gated compound, though it was supposed to be one of the busiest days being Community Development Service (CDS).

Investigations by Weekly Trust revealed that most of the 2012 Batch ‘B’ corps members had relocated either back to their hometowns or to other states in the southern parts of the country for security reasons.

“About 1,336 out of the 2,150 Batch B” corps members had relocated from Kano on security grounds. This constitutes about 55 per cent of all the applications we received for relocation. The rest of the relocations were based on health, marital or other reasons,” the state coordinator Alhaji Bashir Salisu Yakasai told Weekly Trust.

“As you know, the attack carried out in Kano in January has terrified the corps members. Their parents had told them to seek relocation immediately after completing the three-week orientation programme. We have never experienced mass redeployment like this,” he added.

He said the resolution by the House of Representatives to the NYSC that any corps member deployed to a crisis-ridden state could voluntarily relocate, has contributed to their exodus from the state. “Our Ddirector General was told in clear terms by the lawmakers to allow any corps member who wishes to relocate on security grounds to do so,” he said.

When asked whether the mass relocation of corps members would not defeat the aim of the NYSC scheme which was conceived to foster unity and integration among Nigerians, Yakasai disagrees.

“No. it won’t defeat the aim of the scheme if you (journalists) help us inform the populace that these corps members are the sons and daughters of everybody in Nigeria. It is our hope that the future would be brighter. So, let’s not think negatively all the time. You can see that the security situation in Kano has improved with most of the roadblocks disappearing and businesses thriving. Government is working tirelessly to ensure that normalcy is fully returned,” he noted.

It was gathered that the corps members decided to leave Kano despite continuous appeals and assurances of safety given to them by the state government. Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso has through his deputy, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje assured that “the government would do everything possible to guarantee the safety of corps members posted to Kano State throughout their service year,” during a visit to the NYSC camp in Karaye local government area.

One of the corps members who simply identified himself as John from Benue State described the rush by his southern colleagues to leave Kano State as a sad commentary on the NYSC scheme and a danger to the unity of the country.

“I have never been to Kano before and I was horrified by the kind of stories we heard before we came. I personally decided not to stay initially, but after our orientation programme, I came to like the place because I consider the people hospitable and peaceful. I think Kano is one of the few places in the country with an affordable cost of living. It is sad that most of my colleagues had left, but I don’t think I will join them anymore. If we continue like this I don’t think there would be any meaningful future for the country. The only sensible thing is for the leaders to take and address issues seriously especially the security problems and not take decisions detrimental to the unity of the country,” he said.

Like in Kano, Bauchi being one of the states that has come under heavy attack by the suspected members of the Boko Haram sect also witnessed mass exodus of corps members after their orientation. Weekly Trust learnt that about 411out 1,352 Batch ‘B’ corps members posted to the state had been redeployed to other states.

A senior official of the Corps in the state said although he is not competent to speak on the development “but at the end of the orientation camp, 411 corps had been redeployed to other states.”

During the passing out parade, Governor Isa Yuguda who was represented by his Deputy, Sagir Aminu Saleh assures corps members of adequate welfare and security of their lives and property in the state. He said, “government will hold any traditional ruler and community leaders responsible for anything that happens to NYSC members in Bauchi State.

Some of the NYSC members who spoke to Weekly Trust at the secretariat said even though they came from the eastern part of Nigeria, but they decided to stay because of the pledges made by the government over their welfare and security.

All effort to speak to the Bauchi State NYSC Coordinator, Mr. Nuhu Kwaghe failed as he was said to have travelled out of the state, and the Public Relations Officer of the State NYSC Mr Arthur Markus said he is not competent to speak on the matter.

Category: Bauchi State News

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