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Parents nationwide must hail the latest news coming from the camp of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). A press release, signed by Adenike Adeyemi, the NYSC director for press and public relations, quoted Brig-Gen. Suleiman Kazaure, the NYSC director-general, as saying “no corps member would be posted to an area with security breach within the country.”
Parents and guardians, always perturbed at NYSC postings, because of the testy security situation in some parts of the country must heave a sigh of relief at the assurance by the NYSC boss. It is not only good, it is fair and equitable.
Indeed, even if the best of secured countries still suffer occasional security glitches, no government has the moral right to post youths to locations it hasn’t adequately secured. That is why the NYSC D-G’s assurance could not have come at a better time, when there are growing fears that the government might just be posting some youth corps members, core investment of their parents and trove of Nigeria’s future manpower, to nothing but early death.
Though such thinking cannot be fair on the government — no sane government would send the flower of its youth to early deaths — the fear is not totally unfounded. Life, after all, has no duplicate; and every rigorous step must be taken to secure it. But it is good the NYSC is acknowledging the security challenge and it is factoring it into its posting policy.
It is even better that the NYSC secretariat, even where security is not a serious issue, is by its training regime in its state orientation camps, looking out for the safety and security of the youths in its care. The NYSC D-G again: “We provide them [corps members]with a booklet on security tips, as well as phone numbers that give them a direct access in their places of primary assignment to personnel of security agencies, such as the police, State Security Service and other agencies.”
“Apart from these,” the D-G continued, “the scheme has established Distress Call Centres domiciled in the NYSC Directorate headquarters, which function 24 hours. We also have the relevant details of all corps members nationwide; and their locations are to be uploaded to the database of the centre.”
These measures would appear impressive, and should be commended. Still, plans are one thing, and Nigeria is not bereft of beautiful plans. Implementation is another, but Nigeria is not blessed with the best of records in implementation.
That is why the NYSC should strive to secure the buy-in of every security agency involved in this intricate security arrangements. The NYSC should ensure these arrangements are matched by swift responses, and not marred by the tardiness of individual troopers, which could make the vital difference between life and death. That is the only way the security plan would succeed.
Still, the most critical key to the NYSC achieving its goals is good security nationwide. That, for security reasons, corps members cannot be posted to every part of the country, is a big negation of the scheme’s goal: to foster national unity, love and integration. If things continue like this for long, the NYSC would have failed in a core mandate.
That is why the government and people of Nigeria must give the security challenge the attention it deserves — the government and people of Nigeria because security is a collective endeavour. Security might be the government’s core duty. But it cannot achieve that without the people’s cooperation and buy-in, not the least in the vital sphere of intelligence, where civic citizens promptly report suspicious activities; and putative crimes are nipped in the bud.
The earlier good security is restored, the better for the NYSC scheme. That is when it can fully deliver on its core national integration mandate.
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