The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme was established by the then head of state, General Yakubu Gowon in Nigeria on 22nd of May, 1973. By the year 2000, years after the decree enabling its establishment was promulgated, a large and diverse segment of the Nigerian population as well as notable people around the world, commended its establishment and praised its operations and achievement, especially its significant role in promoting national unity, integration and rapid economic development of Nigeria.
NYSC was created to foster unity among Nigeria’s about 250 ethnic groups and to create a sense of nationhood and selfless service among young people. There used to be two NYSC batches, namely batch A and batch B. However, with so many graduates waiting for NYSC call up, NYSC now have three batches, batch A, batch B, and batch C. The NYSC programmes runs for about 12 months and during that period, graduates of Universities and Polytechnics are deployed to serve in states that are not their state of origin. NYSC allowance currently stands at about N19,800, although there are serious moves to increase it.
The NYSC programme is divided into four main stages, namely:
NYSC corps members are camped for three weeks in an NYSC orientation camp where they live a military-like regimented life. Events at NYSC camps include parades, Man ‘O’ War activities, and drills (every morning), Lectures on different topics like Entrepreneurship, Job search tips, self-employment, National security, Road safety, Firefighting, HIV/Aids, Environmental issues, NYSC aims, and so on are organized at the NYSC orientation camps for corps members. At NYSC orientation camp, corps members are divided into different groups called Platoons. These platoons compete against each other in activities like sports, dance, drama, beauty pageants, and so on.
After the camp, NYSC corps members are exposed to the challenges of everyday Nigeria. During Primary assignment, NYSC corps members are posted to organizations to work for about 10 months. Most corps members are posted to schools where they are expected to help in providing teaching services.
CDS is at the core of the NYSC scheme, each corps member is expected to belong to an NYSC community development (CD) group. During CD, NYSC corps members use their skills to offer selfless service to communities in which they are deployed. NYSC corps members usually focus their CDS on some challenging issues in their community of deployment, some include: Adult literacy; Charity visits to hospitals, prisons, old people’s homes and children homes; Sanitation; construction/provision of basic infrastructure; and so on.
Passing out ceremony is the last stage of the NYSC scheme. This consists of one or two weeks of events, which ends with a passing out parade. Events usually take the format of lectures on some topics similar to the one at the NYSC orientation camps but focus is on preparing NYSC corps members for the challenges they will face in Nigeria. Lectures focus on issues like Self-employment, Entrepreneurship, preparing winning CVs/resumes, Tips on Job interviews, and such related topics. NYSC secretariats use this period to study experiences of corps members with the scheme. NYSC corps members (mostly those posted in state capitals) also practice for the passing out parade during this period. After passing out parade, NYSC discharge certificate is issued to successful corps member. For all successful NYSC corps members, a chapter has just ended and a new chapter is about to begin.
The stages of registration are as follows:
After screening of the above, candidates will be issued the following:
Corps members are centrally fed throughout the orientation period. Upon the completion of registration, meal tickets are issued to corps members. Corps members are called upon to participate in cooking and serving of food on platoon basis.
Accommodation is provided on the basis of first come, first serve. Note that it is the duty of corps members to take proper care of their mattress, and ensure that the hostels are clean throughout the period of the orientation course.
The OBS is the only recognized media outfit at the camp. This service is designed for corps members where camp news, events and announcement are relayed to them. The OBS functions are carried out by corps members. Mostly by the mass communication and English graduates plus the graduates from allied disciplines as well as those who have interest. Technicians are also very much needed to facilitate the smooth running of the OBS.
Discipline is the bedrock on which orderliness; progress of any individual, community or nation is assured. Any act of indiscipline during the orientation and indeed throughout the service year treated with appropriate sanction.
Every camp resident has a responsibility to be vigilant and security conscious. Corps members are advised to take proper care of their valuables. The NYSC management has no policy which offers replacements of or compensation for lost items. The police have the primary duty to protect life, property and ensure general security on the camp. Corps members are advised to co-operate with the law enforcement officers.
The importance of identity card cannot be overemphasized. It is a document which each corps member must carry at all times. It must be produced on demand, if lost; an official report must be made by the bearer to the camp director. ID cards are however replaced on payment of a fee of 200 naira and submission of police reports, a court affidavit and an application letter.
24hrs medical care is provided on camp at the camp clinic manned by corps doctor, nurses, pharmacists, etc. Corps members are warned against self-medication except if prescription is by personal physician.
At the orientation camp, there is the price monitoring committee charged with the task of ensuring that traders sell quality products at reasonable prices to the corps members.
The NYSC organized activities in which people meet for pleasure after the day’s rigorous activities.
This is the process by which corps members seek to leave one state for another. This can only be approved on the grounds of ill health (given by a certified medical practitioner) and in marriage cases. See our article on NYSC redeployment for other reasons you might be permitted to relocate.
Corps members must obtain absence permit before going out of camp. The camp director gives absence permit when necessary and such corps members should go out in their NYSC uniform.
Corps members are allowed to practice their religion at the orientation camp.
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