*Says no amount of money can pay for murdered corps members lives
BY HENRY UMORU
ABUJA- FORMER Vice President Atiku Abubakar has stressed the need for the Federal Government to carry out a total review of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, scheme rather than calls for the scrapping of the programme.
Abubakar, who commended the Federal Government for the compensation of affected families of corps members killed in Bauchi, was, however, quick to say that no amount could pay for the loss of such promising young men cut down in their prime, adding that only justice, as demanded by the affected families, could ameliorate the loss and stem the growing culture of impunity in the country.
The former Vice President in a statement said the NYSC scheme, which came on board in 1973, was long over due for a review as that would help re-energise it for the attainment of its set objectives of national cohesion, integration, unity and stability.
According to the statement, the former presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, spoke in Yola at the 3rd Commencement ceremony of American University of Nigeria, AUN, and release of 400 prospective corps members expected to join their colleagues from all parts of the country for the next call up by the NYSC for the compulsory scheme.
Atiku Abubakar flayed calls in some quarters to abolish the programme, maintaining that despite the unfortunate and regrettable death of 10 corps members in the recent post-election violence, the benefits of the unification programme were greater than its perceived shortcomings.
He said since the introduction of the NYSC programme in 1973, the scheme has enabled the nation’s young men and women to appreciate the ethnic and cultural diversity of the country, thereby significantly helping them re-think their prejudices and promoting their understanding.
Atiku said with the NYSC programme, many graduates of tertiary institutions had remarkably managed to perceive their country more broad-mindedly, adding that no country that went through a civil war should take unity for granted by dismantling the gains of the NYSC, which among others include forging unity, even in diversity, under the heat of passion.