The bill to amend the 1999 constitution to discontinue the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme is an evil plot against Nigerian youths and not in the interest of the nation, a civil society group has said.
Kicking against the move, the Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) said the purveyors of conflict and agents of destabilisation are at work to earnestly set the country up in flames.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, Executive Secretary, Comrade Isaac Ikpa said the relevance of the scheme to contemporary Nigeria can’t be overemphasised.
Established on May 22, 1973, by the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon under Decree No. 24 of 1973, the primary objective was to reconcile and reintegrate Nigerians after the civil war.
But the lawmaker representing Andoni-Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency of Rivers State, Awaji-Inombek Abiante, had argued that the scheme has overstayed its usefulness.
In reaction, Comrade Ikpa said that the scheme has instead evolved over the years in fulfilling its mandate of bridging ethnic and religious divisions and fostering the spirit of Nigerian nationalism.
He noted that thousands of young Nigerian graduates still look forward to participating in the one-year mandatory service.
According to Ikpa, the scheme also provides most youths with the opportunity for self-reliance in preparation for life ahead through the allowances paid and the experiences they go through.
Describing the move as “anti-youth, anti-people and misplaced”, he added that it is targeted at removing the last institutional framework for national stability and cohesion to satisfy the criminal mindset of a few Nigerians hiding in the National Assembly as lawmakers.
He, therefore, called on all well-meaning Nigerians to “see this attempt as an affront to our sensibilities by a select few that are hell-bent on destabilising the youthful population in Nigeria, which on its own is a recipe for conflict”.
The CSO urged all Nigerians to mobilise in their large number to stop the bill as quickly as possible, adding that if there is any crucial moment in history to reinforce the essence of the exercise, it’s now.
It, however, called on the leadership of the National Assembly to put the interest of the country at heart and halt further deliberations on the grossly ill-informed bill.
The CSO also urged the Federal Government to do all within its means to ensure that those against the interest of the country do not succeed in disorienting its youthful population.