Significance of NYSC’s Return to Maiduguri

Significance of NYSC's Return to Maiduguri
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In September 2023, international conflicts statisticians rated Maiduguri, Borno State as the epicenter of deaths from the terrorism that has threatened the foundation of Nigeria as a Sovereignty.

As of this year, over thirty-eight thousand, two hundred and fifty-five persons have suffered fatality from terrorist attacks in Maiduguri, Borno State alone since the attacks began about a decade and a few years ago. Others are Zamfara- 6,803; Kaduna- 6,195; and Benue state- 4, 391.

These security challenges compelled the suspension of the orientation camps in Maiduguri, Borno State for thirteen years. Borno state has suffered also from the incidence of high figures of internally displaced citizens.

However, a big positive change has occurred in Borno state with the return after thirteen years, of the NYSC’s orientation camp.

This massive mileage is significant and symbolic in such a way that public trust can begin to be restored regarding reaching a possible end to this troubling insecurity that has brought grave misfortunes to the good people of Borno state and Nigeria as a whole.

A few days back, a report trickled in that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) had commenced orientation camp in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, for the first time in 13 years after the exercise was suspended in 2011 due to Boko Haram insurgency.

Swearing in Batch ‘B’ Stream 2 corps members at a temporal orientation camp in the state capital, NYSC State Coordinator, Mohammed Adamu, credited Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, for facilitating the return of the orientation course to the state.

The corps members are camped at the Arabic Teachers College, which is serving as a temporary orientation camp amidst tight security by the military, police, civil defense, and civilian joint task force.

The corps members comprising 629 males and 496 females prepare for swearing-in.

On his part, Zulum expressed delight at the return of the orientation camp in the state, stating that the gesture signified the return of peace and security to the state after years of insurgency.

He directed NYSC officials to identify graduates of science courses, medical, and para-medicals for possible employment with the state government.

The Director-General (D-G) of NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Yusha’u Ahmed, who led a high-profile management delegation to the Borno State capital to witness the beginning of a good trend with the reopening of the orientation camp in Maiduguri after such a long break, drove straight from Maiduguri to Kaduna which is obviously, another terrorism infested territory and while in Kaduna, the DG of NYSC lamented that the scheme has lost many corps members to night journeys while warning them against such fatal actions.

Ahmed, at a working visit to the Kaduna State NYSC temporary orientation camp on Tuesday, reminded the corps members of the dangers of night journeys, adding that they sometimes lead to the loss of lives.

“I have harped on avoiding night journeys in every NYSC camp and fora I find myself, my first priority is the safety of your lives. “If you take the decision to embark on a night journey, remember the dangers associated with it and rethink, your lives are precious to us too.

“Once you are on a journey and realise it is already 5pm, break up the journey, have a place to sleep, and continue the following day,” Ahmed advised.

He said that most of the drivers were not familiar with the roads, which usually causes accidents, among other factors like driving when tired.

The director-general also advised the corps members to be security conscious, saying that no one would secure their lives more than they would do so.

Ahmed further advised them to restrict social media to their personal consumption, while tasking them on respect for constituted authorities.

Ahmed also tasked them with continuing with the regimentation they had undergone in camp after their service year, adding that it would help them achieve greatness in all their endeavors.

“Uphold the ideals of patriotism, diligence, loyalty, respect for other’s culture/tradition, and self-empowerment while in service and beyond, “he added.

Ahmed commended the camp officials and corps members for their orderliness and regimentation spirit while restating his administration’s commitment to taking the scheme to greater heights.

Earlier, the State NYSC Coordinator, Mr. Hassan Taura, explained that the orientation course was designed to mold the corps members into highly disciplined and patriotic youths, capable of leading the country to greater heights.

For that reason, he said, they participate in all the activities in camp, which include military drills, skills acquisition and entrepreneurship development training, language studies, leadership and martial arts training as well as lectures on national topical issues.

Taura, therefore, appealed to the director-general for a better operating environment and to address some challenges faced in the orientation camp like inadequate amenities.

He, however, thanked him for his positive disposition to the smooth operation of the scheme.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the high point of the event was the cultural dance and cash donation to some of the corps members who distinguished themselves in camp activities.

NAN also reports that the corps members, who were of the 2023 batch ‘C’ stream ‘1’, officially began the orientation course on November 7.

About this same period of the epochal return to Maiduguri of the NYSC, the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier General Y.D. Ahmed also urged the 2023 Batch ‘C’ Stream One corps members to ensure that they develop their various host communities with projects that would improve the standard of living of the residents.

He said Community Development Service (CDS) is one of the four compulsory cardinal programmes of the scheme that every corps member must actively participate in before being considered fit to collect the certificate of national service.

Gen Ahmed stated this today while addressing corps members during his visit to NYSC Sokoto and Kebbi State orientation camps. He appealed to corps members to study the needs of their host communities and obtain approval from NYSC before embarking on any project.

“Source for funds to execute projects within your host communities. Note that it is an offense to sponsor projects with your monthly allowances.

Please don’t accept free rides from strangers. Go to approved motor parks and board vehicles whenever you are traveling.

Follow the security lectures you were exposed to in camp anywhere you are posted, and ensure you don’t expose yourselves to danger,” he said.

The Sokoto State Coordinator of NYSC, Alhaji Yakubu Yaro Usman, in his remark, described the corps members in the Wamakko camp as law-abiding and dutiful.

In a similar vein, the Kebbi State coordinator, Mrs Okolo Aghata Banki, said 154 camp officials, comprising NYSC staff and personnel from other collaborating agencies, are working in synergy.

She said 1,088 corps members were registered at the camp.

She added that the security and general well-being of all corps members in the camp remain top priorities.

Speaking about community Development Service (CDS) is such an important topic because it is obviously one of the four (4) Cardinal Programs of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in which Corps Members contribute positively to the development of their host communities throughout the period of National service.

An official publication on the website of NYSC made no pretenses when it emphatically stated that it is worthy of note, that over the years from its inception in 1973, the National Youth Service Corps has contributed immensely to the social, political, and economic transformation of the nation. Recently, the scheme has been in the vanguard of the nation’s drive to correct the imbalance in our rural-urban development through the various community development programs executed by corps members. These programs have revolutionized our communities in the areas of education, health care delivery, agriculture, communication, infrastructure, technology, economic empowerment, poverty eradication, social services, and above all national consciousness and socio-cultural regeneration.

What then is the idea behind NYSC CDS (Objectives), if one may ask?

We got the official reply from the NYSC website that says: “As one of the cardinal programs of the NYSC, Community Development Service was envisaged among other benefits to impact and improve positively on the rural community life.

Expose corps members to diverse traditions and customs of the host communities;  Provide a forum for corps members to experiment with ideas and translate them into concrete achievements thereby relying less on foreign technology and encouraging the use of local raw materials in the execution of projects as well as on-the-job training and experience for corps members.

Community Development Service is meant also to harness the enormous talents and skills of corps members into an effective machinery of change in our rural communities; Develop the spirit of entrepreneurship in the corps members; Explore the challenges that rural development poses and teach in the Nigerian Youth the ideals and capacities for leadership, endurance, selflessness, community service, national service, patriotism, and creativity; instill in corps members the tradition of the dignity of labour and productivity; Complement the activities of government at all levels in the stride towards national development and serves as an avenue for providing complementary service in our National development activities, by ensuring that our under-privileged population learned basic techniques for self-help through the appropriate technology concept being promoted by NYSC.

Categorization of CDS: NYSC CDS is categorized into two main categories:

Group Community Development Service (Group CDS)

Personal/Individual Community Development Service (Personal/Individual CDS)

In the group Community Development Service (Group CDS), the corps members are expected to use one day in a week for group CDS activities. They are not expected to attend duties in their places of Primary assignment on CD days. Such days are dedicated to the execution of projects and programs that will improve the living conditions of their host communities. However, such days vary with different states across the federation.

The coincidence of the return of the NYSC orientation camp in Maiduguri after such a long lull in activities in Borno state, and the nexus with the emphatic statements by the DG of NYSC on the thematic areas of avoidance of night journeys by corpers and involvement and showing profound passion about implementing community development programs by these youngsters under the NYSC scheme, couldn’t have happened at a better time.

Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Christopher Musa, has recently revealed that some recently arrested Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast planned attacks from the prison in connivance with prison warders. Musa disclosed this on Tuesday, when he appeared before the House of Representatives, alongside the service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police (IGP).

The CDS said about 73 unmanned forests have been taken over by bandits.

The above observations by no other person but the topmost senior military General in the country now, reveal a worrying trend in which the reopening of the NYSC orientation camp in Maiduguri should serve as a noteworthy effort by this public institution to win the hearts and minds of the civil populace.

  • By Emmanuel Onwubiko; head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and former NATIONAL COMMISSIONER OF THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

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