Parents Anxious as NYSC Continues to Deploy Corps Members in N-East

The lingering security  challenges in the Northeast region is taking a heavy emotional toll on parents and guardians of serving and incoming corps members, as many have appealed to the management of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, Scheme to redeploy them to more secure and peaceful states, Vanguard findings have revealed.

Expressing great fears over the safety of their children in the volatile region, they have also pleaded with the Federal Government to save the young Nigerians from being killed by terrorists. However, the NYSC appears to be unrelenting in its resolve to deploy corps members to troubled states in the far North for the one-year mandatory national service.

Vanguard investigation revealed that no fewer than 7,846 corps members mobilised to the six states in the Northeast are currently undergoing the 2021 Batch B, Stream I, orientation course amid lingering security concerns that have led to the murder of at least 163 civilians by Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgents between January and June this year. At the onset of the Boko Haram insurgency, the management of the NYSC had taken the decision to suspend the posting and conduct of orientation programme in affected states in the region.

But the NYSC management came under pressure from governments of the affected states for the return of the posting and hosting of the orientation of the corps members in their domains. However, investigation revealed that while some governors took the NYSC management up and demanded the immediate return of the scheme’s activities in their states, the NYSC resumed the posting of corps members to the troubled region, albeit with the three-week orientation exercise conducted in more peaceful states.

According to some parents who spoke to Vanguard, the NYSC while insisting that it partners effectively with the security agencies on the safety of prospective corps members and corps members, it has often turned down the applications for relocation of their wards to relatively safer states.

But with the continued Boko-Haram/ISWAP attacks, even on security formations in the Northeast, the parents are still left to worry over the safety of their children serving in the region.

However, top sources in NYSC claim there is  more to the numerous requests from parents for the relocation of their wards from the Northeast than security threats. NYSC officials who spoke to our correspondent in Abuja, said many of those requests for relocation have to do with seeking, in other parts of the country, undue economic opportunities and advantages for their wards.

In a chat, a top official at the national directorate of the scheme, who chose to speak on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter said, “The major problem when corps members who are deployed to serve the nation in states or communities other than their own, is the relentless lobbying by parents, especially those privileged in the society, for their children and wards to serve in selected states, urban areas and places where the corps members would find contacts to secure jobs after their national service.

“It usually has little or nothing to do with  security threat because we have strong collaboration with the intelligence agencies who provide updates on the security and safety of corps members wherever they are posted for service in the country. We also provide the corps members regular security advisory.

Parents narrate ordeal: A parent, Mrs Florence Agudiegwu, who is a businesswoman, said the NYSC failed to process her daughter’s request for relocation from Borno State on the grounds of insecurity, a situation that forced her daughter to remain at home for about two months.

She said, “My daughter is willing to serve the country, but we are not ready to risk her life in order to do so. For over one month, the NYSC could not process the request; there was no communication from the scheme. We became worried and frustrated to the point that we had to start calling the people we know. Eventually, a relative in Lagos spoke to a top NYSC official who eventually revealed that relocation has been temporarily suspended.”

A corps member, simply identified as Funmilayo, said the stress and delay associated with getting the approval for her redeployment from Yobe to Abuja after about three months since she applied was demoralising.

“As we speak, I am still a Yobe ‘corper’, but I am not really happy here because every other day, we here stories of attacks in nearby villages where most of us are posted to serve as teachers or health workers.”

Asked if she receives regular advisory from the scheme, she said: “Only those in the state capital (Damaturu) enjoy relative safety and security.”



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