The House of Representatives has barred the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) from posting corps members to crisis-ridden states in a resolution that received wide support Tuesday.
The move is in support of the protests that trailed recent postings of graduates to Northern states that have seen heightened violence by the militant group, Boko Haram.
Some parents refused to release their wards for the compulsory one year programme, if they were not reposted.
Prospective corps members on Monday staged protests at various NYSC offices across the country, and were later replied by a defiant NYSC which insisted the postings be complied with. The office claimed in a statement that “adequate security” had been put in place to ensure the corps members’ safety.
It’s a callous move
“It would be callous to allow innocent children to be posted to places where they don’t know what to do in times of trouble,” said Peter Edeh (Ebonyi, ANPP) who raised the motion.
“Let us do what is practical, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) says security and welfare should be the primary concern of government,” Mr. Edeh said.
Debating the motion, the House however said the restriction should apply only to those who do not wish to serve in the affected states.
A few members however argued that isolating the states in the postings will set a bad precedent.
Speaking in support, Bitrus Kaze (Plateau/PDP) recalled the 2011 post-election violence in some parts of the North which led to the loss of lives of scores of corps members who participated in the elections as Ad Hoc staff.
Though the lawmakers refused to mention specific states that the NYSC is not expected to post corps members to, minority Leader, Femi Gbajabamiala (Lagos/ACN), said the federal government stood the risk of lawsuits if it decided to pursue NYSC postings to violence prone states.
“If some states are temporarily left out in view of their security challenges, it does not affect the objectives of the NYSC Act,” the lawmaker said.