Nigerian students and prospective members of the National Youth Service Corps have urged the Nigerian Government to scrap the NYSC scheme, saying it has outlived its usefulness.
Speaking with SaharaReporters on how the outbreak of Coronavirus had affected their mobilization for the compulsory one-year national service, they lamented how their inability to take part in the programme had denied them of jobs.
Following the outbreak of the virus in the country, the NYSC had abruptly ended activities at orientation camps across the country.
The Director-General of the scheme, Ibrahim Shuaibu, in an interview with Economic Confidential, also said the agency had no intention to mobilize prospective corps members anytime soon, especially as the country is still grappling with the coronavirus pandemic.
A recent graduate of the University of Lagos, Zainab, urged the government to scrap the scheme, saying it was a waste of time.
She said, “They can’t mobilize now because you’d have to be in camp and there are strict rules against the social gathering. Many graduates are thinking outside the box and no longer waiting for NYSC to decide their future.
"“The government needs to scrap the NYSC because it is a waste of time and if you are not engaged before NYSC, the result you are hoping for, you
might not get it.”
Some graduates awaiting mobilization advised that the government should allow them to serve in their current state of residence.
A recent graduate of the Lagos State University, Oluwatoyin Oyetunde, who spoke on the matter, said, “Coronavirus has affected NYSC mobilization and it has caused so many problems as graduates who are supposed to have gone halfway on their NYSC journey are now confined home.
“Though some have the intention of running little businesses on their own, they can't because there is no capital to kick off the business.
“I feel the government should just allow graduates to serve in the states where they studied or live. The government should also cancel the three weeks orientation camp as we do not know when the pandemic will be over.”
Segun Ogunlade, a final year student of the University of Ibadan, said, “I think Batch A Stream 1 will go back to the orientation camp immediately after the lockdown is relaxed. I still have a feeling we might be able to go very late in the year."
Lamenting how the pandemic had caused delays in her participation in the scheme, Afolasade Ola, a student of the University of Ibadan, said, “If I can’t serve this year, it means I would have so many difficulties getting a job.
“The few people who I spoke to about job asked me if I had done my NYSC, and I told them no so they simply told me to wait until after NYSC. Delay in mobilization has affected us getting a job and the question now is what will we be doing until next year?
“I would suggest that they scrap the scheme because it has caused a lot of disorganisation for those of us that have plans for our after-school life.”
Some students suggested that the NYSC should mobilise them for the scheme but ensure prospective corps members adhere to safety guidelines and also wear facemasks.
Stephen Olaniyi, a student of the University of Ibadan, said, “I think the number of people expected at the camp should be reduced for social distancing
purposes. If the numbers of people are halved, others will have to wait.
“The ripple effect will affect other people henceforth. We'd start having to wait for six to eight months before going to serve.
“We may also be required to go for testing before reporting to camps. Corp members would be required to wear masks always. Consequently, rigorous exercises may be reduced because of breathing problems that may arise.”