The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is an organization set up by the Nigerian government to involve the country’s graduates in the development of the country.
There is no military conscription in Nigeria, but since 1973 graduates of universities and later polytechnics have been required to take part in the National Youth Service Corps program for one year.
This is known as national service year. Ahmadu Ali served as the first Director-General of the NYSC until 1975. The incumbent Director-General is Brig. Gen. Sule Zakari Kazaure
Nigerian Graduates are ineligible for employment in governmental establishments (and few private establishments) till they have completed the mandatory one year service. Graduates who are exempted from the service include those above the age of thirty (30) and those with physical disability, therefore completing the service year entitles one to employment.
Objectives of NYSC scheme
The objectives of the National Youth Service Corps Scheme are clearly spelt out in Decree No.51 of 16th June 1993 as follows
- To inculcate discipline in Nigerian youths by instilling in them a tradition of industry at work, and of patriotic and loyal service to Nigeria in any situation they may find themselves.
- To raise the moral tone of the Nigerian youths by giving them the opportunity to learn about higher ideals of national achievement, social and cultural improvement
- To develop in the Nigerian youths the attitudes of mind, acquired through shared experience and suitable training. which will make them more amenable to mobilisation in the national interest
- To enable Nigerian youths acquire the spirit of self reliance by encouraging them to develop skills for self employment
- To contribute to the accelerated growth of the national economy
- To develop common ties among the Nigerian youths and promote national unity and integration
- To remove prejudices, eliminate ignorance and confirm at first hand the many similarities among Nigerians of all ethnic groups
- To develop a sense of corporate existence and common destiny of the people of Nigeria.
- The equitable distribution of members of the service corps and the effective utilisation of their skills in area of national needs
- That as far as possible, youths are assigned to jobs in States other than their States of origin That such group of youths assigned to work together is as representative of Nigeria as far as possible
- That the Nigerian youths are exposed to the modes of living of the people in different parts of Nigeria That the Nigerian youths are encouraged to eschew religious intolerance by accommodating religious differences
- That members of the service corps are encouraged to seek at the end of their one year national service, career employment all over Nigeria, thus promoting the free movement of labour That employers are induced partly through their experience with members of the service corps to employ more readily and on a permanent basis, qualified Nigerians, irrespective of their States of origin
Merits of NYSC
- During the service year, Corps members have the opportunity of learning of the cultures of other people, an opportunity many Nigerians never get in their lifetime.
- The program has also helped in creating entry-level jobs for many Nigerian youth.
- An NYSC forum dedicated to the NYSC members was built to bridge the gap amongst members serving across Nigeria and also an avenue for corpers to share job information and career resources as well as getting loans from the National Directorate Of Employment.
Challenges of NYSC
- The program has been met with serious criticism by a large portion of the country.
- The NYSC members have complained of being underpaid, paid late or not paid at all.
- Several youths carrying out the NYSC program have been killed in the regions where they were sent due to religious violence, ethnic violence or political violence.
- Asides the issue of security, many have wondered the continued importance of the scheme and have called for a dialogue in this regard.
- Many cite the fact that the program has failed to achieve any of its set out objectives.
- They simply see it as a waste of time and a waste of Nigeria’s resources. Some even argue that the program is a conduit for massive corruption, while others see it as government providing cheap labour for schools and its other agencies.