The Lagos State Coordinator of the National Youth Service Corps, Mrs. Adenike Adeyemi, in this interview with SEGUN OLUGBILE of Punch Newspaper, argues that in spite of the security crises in the country, the scheme is still relevant.
Excerpts from PunchNG
What are the security and welfare measures the NYSC has put in place to make the service year enjoyable for corps members?
There are several measures that management has put in place to address security challenges. We have established the NYSC distress call centre and this operates non-stop everyday of the year. There is an immediate response to any distress call from any corps member in any part of Nigeria. Security tips, with the phone numbers of the heads of the relevant security agencies in all the states, are distributed to all corps members right from the orientation camps nationwide.
Other discretionary measures, according to the peculiarity of each state, are often adopted by the NYSC management. There is a synergy and collaboration between the NYSC and all security outfits who have all been detailed to make security of corps members a priority. We have also resuscitated the NYSC Local Government Committees in every council areas in the country – to address the welfare needs of corps members right from the grassroots. There has also been increased advocacy for the establishment of transit camps and lodges for corps members in the local government councils across the country.
But don’t you think the Boko Haram cum security challenge in some parts of the North could frustrate the realisation of the integration objectives of the NYSC?
The security challenge in the country has had its ripple effects in every sector. The NYSC is not isolated. The situation has also challenged us but we are undeterred. We believe we will surmount the challenge and Nigeria will come out of it stronger and remain unified. Come to think of it, the security of all in the threatened areas is affected one way or the other. The operations or activities of the organisations in those areas are therefore affected so long as the threat exists. The NYSC, like other organisations there, is appreciative of the situation and has also devised methods of addressing this challenge in those areas while not losing focus of its objectives. That is why the leadership gave corps members posted to the affected states the option to apply for redeployment and I can tell you that no one with such a request has been denied reposting.
We are parents too and we will not do anything that can cause injury or death to any of our corps members. The only appeal I will like to make is to tell serving corps members and prospective ones to obey the rules guiding the service. This will help us as their loco parentis during the one-year service to do our job well. But I believe the issue of insecurity will soon become a thing of the past going by the efforts of the Federal Government, the states affected and all the stakeholders in the Nigeria project.