4th July, 2012
DON'T USE CORPERS AS GUINEA PIGS
Many fresh graduates of Southern origin who reported for the current National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) recently were reportedly posted to troubled spots in the North. The fresh youth corpers staged a protest at the national headquaters of the NYSC, Abuja, on Monday. The protesters expressed fears over their postings to violence-prone zones of Northern Nigeria where a militant group, Jamaat Ahlus-Sunnah or Boko Haram has been waging guerrilar warfare against government and military installations as well as other civilian targets.
We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) express profound shock at the action of the NYSC authorities. It is naïve, insensitive and provocative. Sending youth corpers from the South to this troubled area is pregnant with several impressions. It portrays those at the helm of affairs in the NYSC national secretariat as insensitive to the fears being expressed by parents and concerned citizens. It also gives the impression that corpers are regarded by the authorities as mere sacrificial lambs whose lives mean nothing at all to the NYSC top echelon.
In view of reported killings of corpers posted to those zones where Boko Haram insurgency is very active, the authorities ought to have considered the implications of sending young and innocent corpers to the zone. It is also heartless sending corpers to terra incognito particularly in these troubled times.
MURIC holds NYSC authorities responsible for this blunder. The Boko Haram insurgency has so far been the longest violent phenomenon the North has ever witnessed and NYSC authorities should have prepared safeguards and measures aimed at reassuring the young graduates and their parents.
The best assurance and greatest safeguard anybody can give in such a circumstance is to restrict the services of corpers of Southern origin to the South. Afterall, what is important is that graduates should experience other Nigerian cultures different from their own. So what is wrong with sending graduates from the Southeast to the Southwest and vice versa at least while the Boko Haram imbroglio still rages. NYSC can resume the normal postings on the return of normalcy.
Even corpers of Northern origin serving in the North must be properly protected by the security agencies. But we know that the security agencies are only instructed to focus attention on government officials while innocent corpers are exposed to perils of unimaginable proportions.
MURIC strongly denounces this attempt to turn our young talents into guinea pigs overnight. We therefore demand the immediate reposting of all corpers of Southern origin recently posted to the North. They should all be reposted to the South. We fear that failure to yield to this demand may result in loss of confidence in the NYSC scheme with its attendant consequences for which we cannot be held responsible.
We charge the Federal Government to rein in the NYSC authorities. Any responsible government must be interested in the safety of its young and educated citizens. Jonathan's regime must not abdicate its responsibility.
Professor Is-haq Akintola,
Lagos State University,
P.O. Box 10211,
LASU Post Office,
HO 102 101,
I remain oppressed untill the hungry are fed, the naked clothed,
the sick healed and the homeless sheltered