POSTED 07/09/2018 14:33:30
The National Youth Service Corps was created on 22 May 1973 by the General Gowon-led military regime. This was after the brutal civil war that consumed over 3million lives. These promising lives were wasted because of the greed of the leaders then (both side).
I was not particularly excited about the programme, because before then I had things I was doing before the registration portal opened. But still, I registered because it's compulsory considering that I am still under the age of 30. I packed my bags and few items I needed and left for Ebonyi State where I was posted. Once you register for the programme you are welcomed to the servitude world.
Camp was another life especially if you are not from a rich background, the first thing you do is registration and then you are given uniforms and kits which you are to use for the rest of the service year.
Corps member are woken very early in the morning by the zombie soldiers who command them to move to the parade ground immediately. The Corp Members are first taught the slavery song (N.Y.S.C Anthem). A line of it goes thus "Under the rain or in the sun." (Corp Members were forced to stay under the sun or in the rain for hours during parade). Unfortunately our legislators and politicians don't go under the sun or in the rain.
Sometimes they were made to sit on dirty grounds, for hours as a punishment for defiance.
Is that also serving our father's land?
These fresh prospective Corpers (they are only called Corpers after the swearing in ceremony). These Corp Members were grouped into platoons, each platoon was led by a slave master called "Platoon Officer". These Platoon officers were responsible for onward registration, sharing of foods, clothes, khaki trousers, jungle boots, and so on. Platoon officers were given the mandate to give malnourished foods to the new Corp Members.
During their stay in camp, Corp Members are put under intense, callous, harsh conditions. You need to take a look at the abode Corp Members live in, the hostels are overcrowded and unkempt, a reminiscent of most public school hostels in Nigeria. There is little or no ventilation, because the population far outweighed the bedding space.
Nigeria has become a country where things are done in a crooked manner, Corp Members were given substandard and oversized Khaki trousers, jungle boots, crested vest and so on.
After collection of these items, Corp members can now be called "Prisoners." I overheard a soldier (A slave commander) telling us to bang our legs during parade because it has been paid for by the federal government.
Just a few days ago, a female Corper was gunned down by a trigger happy policeman a day to her passing out. I guess it is also under the sun or in the rain. Corp Members now use N.Y.S.C as a prayer point, if you are lucky, you come out alive. Also this year a female Corp Member fell when she climbed and fell during the Man'O War drills. She was rushed to the camp clinic manned by fellow Corp Members, when the situation was beyond them she was rushed to another hospital which later confirmed dead.
I am not sure till today, the federal government paid any of the late Corp Members any money.
I am not surprised because this is Nigeria, where the poor get poorer and the rich get richer including amassing wealth for the generation yet unborn.
The kind of food Corp members were give was an eyesore, we were fed 3 times a day. Corp members stay on a queue like beggars to get their food. The food mostly malnourished were given to Corp Members in their thousands, although it’s not compulsory, if you don't want, you can always visit the Maami market where your cash will do the talking.
But what of Corp Members that don't have that cash to spend? Especially those of us from humble backgrounds? You just have to settle with the camp food. I took the food but was forced to stop after I fell sick, these were also the stories of many other Corpers across the nation.
The politicians are paid huge amount every year and these fresh graduates were made to suffer all in the name of serving their father land.
What a country!
Let me give a brief organogram of the camp.
The State Cordinator - Camp Director - Camp Commandant - Camp officials - Platoon Officers - Soldiers, Policemen, Civil Defence Corps and Corp Members.
During camping, Corp Members are paid allowances of transport fee and Allawee, the Allawee is 19,800.
The massive corruption among N.Y.S.C officials was an eyesore, because Corp members paid huge amount of money to get their favourite posting. These Corp members paid as high as 30 to 50,000 and the ones that couldn't get the money were posted to the rural areas, not all of them though.
On the last day in camp, Corp Members are deployed to various sectors ranging from schools, hospitals, ministries and so on. But in my own case, Ebonyi is majorly a farming state.
The last day in camp, Corp Members were transferred to organisations headed by another slave masters (The heads of those organisation).
These new Corp Members are to be supervised by another slave master (Local government Inspector - L.I). The Local government takes back his report to a superior slave master called the Z.I (Zonal Inspector) who also reports back to the number one Slave master in the State (The State Cordinator).
Corp members are sent to remote villages, under the goriest conditions, with little or no means of survival except for the meagre 19,800 they were paid while in camp. They are also to use part of the money to travel back home. These Corp Members are given two weeks to travel back home of which failure to report back after the period elapsed might come with a query by the slave master - Local government Inspector.
The Lucky ones are paid allowances by the state government, but most of the states don't pay. These Corp Members are treated badly most times by their host communities. The villagers hike the prices of their goods once they noticed you are a Corp Member. The communities these innocent ones were sent to serve bank on every opportunity to exploit them. Ask the majority of Corp Members if they were comfortable with their State of deployment, what you will get is a negative reply. These Corp Members ordinarily will never have visited these states if not for N.Y.S.C.
These Corp Members especially the ones in the rural areas are confined to these areas after doing their primary work which is teaching. Left with nothing doing, makes most of the Corp Members take revenge on the village girls, randomly occupying their bodies and digging boreholes under their legs promising them marriage. Some of them even go as far as sleeping with married village women. They argued that they need something to cool off their mind because after all body no be firewood. Some takes to drugs while others invest in self-development as there was no place closer to them to train them on the required skills needed for life after service.
What about the ladies?
If they were not fighting, they are busy spreading rumours and gossips while some of them allow sleep take a large chunk of their time. Few of them though stay on track by involving in personal community development which in my own P.P.A (Place Of Primary Assignment) was another competition with female Corp members engaging in a show of calumny.
In my own case I think I spent over 15,000 half of which I used as transport fee to go for a training in neighbouring Enugu. And I also saw some other Corp Members both male and females invested heavily in themselves.
The meagre 19,800 Corp Members go home with monthly is nothing to write home about while Ex-militants go home with over 50,000 monthly if not more than that.
Some of these Corp Members have dependants they send money yet they still have to buy foodstuffs, clothing and some other items. In my own case we had to contribute 300 monthly to the local government Inspector as transport fee because the local government was very far from our P.P.A. We will spend up to 1500 per person if we had to go there for our clearance, but the L.I in his wisdom helped us by coming to our P.P.A to clear us. Just imagine if we had to use 1,500 per month for transport out of the 19,800, what will remain?
Now let us talk about the primary purpose of the scheme itself which is uniting the nation. I used to tell my friends that if they really want to know why Nigeria is the way it is now, they should pay a visit to my P.P.A. It was a classic example of how divided we are as a nation, with Corp members clasping to their tribe members.
Tribalism was the order of the day and I am left wondering if this scheme is still relevant? It got so heated that we almost had a divided C.D.S meeting (Community Development Service). Corp Members with so much rage in them saw others as not worthy provided they were not from their particular region.
Also N.Y.S.C deceived Corp members with the SAED Programme which is a skills acquisition programme. They are given substandard training in camp for a period of 1-4days. Originally, on paper the training is supposed to last for one week but in most camp such as Ebonyi during my time, it lasted for just 3days.
The N.Y.S.C bodies promised these Corp Members that there will be a continuation of these programmes after camping. But most Corpers, especially the ones posted to rural areas are left with nothing as the programme was nowhere to be found except the state capital.
Another look at the issue of corruption is the ghost Corpers where the ones that had money sort it out with either their employers or the local government Inspector. These ghost Corpers part with some amount of their Allawee and go on to do other things. Let me also let you know that the serving Corp Members fight dirty over these money from the ghost Corpers, with some of the leaders of the C.D.S group embezzling the funds for their selfish use.
At the end of the service year, Corp members celebrate their freedom from servitude by taking pictures with their Certificates and posting it all over the social media as if the likes and comments that come along with the pictures translate to money and employment.
They are presented with a certificate with their names boldly inscribed on it, signalling the completion of their jail term. These Corp Members enter into the new world with the employers of labour demanding these certificates of servitude as a major requirement for employment.
I must state here that the scheme originally was a good initiative by the then military administration but it has lost its true calling of uniting the nation. The scheme like most of the schemes introduced in Nigeria has been corrupted. The scheme has lost its true calling of uniting the nation. From my own experience, tribalism, corruption is even more visible in N.Y.S.C than it is in our everyday life. Tribalism, corruption reign supreme among Corp Members and N.Y.S.C officials. It has also divided Corp members along ethnic lines.
My final thought is this, the programme should be discarded or turn into a full skills acquisition programmes. By doing this, Corp members will come out equipped with the necessary skills needed to solve problems, confront challenges.
If we truly a serious nation we should revamp the N.Y.S.C scheme.
May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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