Some academics last Wednesday faulted the renewed calls by some Nigerians the National Youth Service Corps(NYSC) scheme, in the aftermath of the recent killings of 10 corps members in post-election violence in some northern states.
In separate interviews with The Tide source in Lagos, the lecturers said that rather than scrap the scheme, it should be reviewed to accommodate issues of security and welfare of corps members.
Dr Robert Okwori, Department of Arts Education, University of Lagos, said the NYSC programme had since inception helped to enhance national integration and promote human capital development.
Okwori said that though the killings of the corps members were highly regrettable, abolishing the scheme was equally inappropriate as it would deny the country and the participants its immense benefits.
“If one considers the way the corps members were killed in the course of their national service, one may be tempted to stay on the side of those calling for its abolition.
“But if one looks at the way the scheme has strengthened the unity of the country through inter-ethnic marriages, cultural assimilation and so on, one would see that the merits far outweighed the challenges,’’ he said.
According to Okwori, the government should review the scheme to address some of its challenges, most especially security issues, rather than scrap it.
In reviewing the scheme, the lecturer suggested that the government should halt the deployment of corps members to states that could not guarantee their security and maintain law and order.
He stated that such action would enable state governments to take the security of people under their care more seriously and put an end to frequent outbreaks of violence.
Another lecturer, Dr Francis Falako, also of the Faculty of Education, UNILAG, suggested what he called “zonalisation“ of the scheme to make corps members serve only in their geopolitical zones.
He explained that deploying corps members to zones they were familiar with would not only mitigate risk of insecurity but also enrich participants‘ knowledge of their environment.
“What is bad in sending corps members from Lagos to Ekiti or Adamawa to Bauchi? Deploying corps members to their zones would check these senseless killings and enrich participants‘ knowledge of their immediate environment.
“National service is national service. You can even serve your nation in your hometown. After all, some corps members posted to far places still succeed in getting redeployed to their preferred states,’’ Falako said.