The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program has long been a symbol of unity and national integration in Nigeria.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
However, recent incidents have raised concerns about the safety of corps members during their travels, as some engage in reckless journeys without obtaining proper permissions, putting themselves at risk of encountering kidnappers and bandits.
For the benefit of hindsight, the NYSC was established with the primary goal of fostering unity among Nigerian youths, by exposing them to diverse cultures and traditions. It plays a vital role in nation-building and promotes a sense of responsibility and patriotism among participants.
However, the recent surge in cases of corps members engaging in reckless travels has raised questions about the effectiveness of safety measures during their service year.
It is disheartening to note that some corpers embark on journeys without obtaining proper permissions from the relevant authorities. These journeys often involve reckless driving, late-night travels, and disregarding safety protocols.
But this does not only jeopardize their safety, but also undermines the objectives of the NYSC program. One of the most alarming consequences of reckless travel is the increased vulnerability of corps members to criminal elements, such as kidnappers and bandits.
By bypassing proper channels and traveling without authorization, these individuals inadvertently expose themselves to the dangers that lurk on Nigeria’s highways and remote areas.
Recently, some corpers were abducted while traveling from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, to Sokoto State to commence their year-long national service. The unfortunate incident occurred in Zamfara State. Some of them have been successfully rescued in a sequential manner from captivity.
Likewise, there was this distressing news regarding the abduction of some corpers at a filling station in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State. According to information gathered, these young individuals had just completed a three-week orientation program in Imo State, and were traveling to Lagos when they fell victim to the kidnapping incident at the gas station.
Furthermore, gunmen in Rivers State, equally abducted an unspecified number of corpers in Emohua Local Government, some few months back. The incident was brought to the attention of the police when a witness urgently contacted a local radio station to report the abduction of her sister-in-law and some corps members.
The kidnapped individuals were returning to Rivers after completing a three-week orientation program in Ondo State and were on their way to Port Harcourt.
To curb the rising trend of corpers becoming hostages of undesirable elements, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of responsible behavior among NYSC corp members. Orientation programs should include comprehensive discussions on travel safety, stressing the significance of obtaining proper permissions before embarking on any journey.
It is also imperative for NYSC officials to reinforce the consequences of reckless behavior and non-compliance with established guidelines. While individual responsibility is paramount, the government and NYSC authorities must work collaboratively to enhance security measures for corps members.
This includes improving the safety of transportation provided to them, conducting regular security audits of routes, and coordinating with relevant security agencies to ensure safe travel conditions. The NYSC program remains a cornerstone of national unity and youth development.
But the recent trend of corps members engaging in reckless travels poses a serious threat to their safety and undermines the program’s objectives. It is essential for all stakeholders, including the government, NYSC officials, and corps members, to collectively address this issue through increased awareness, responsible behavior, and enhanced security measures.
By doing so, we can ensure that the NYSC experience continues to be a positive and transformative journey for all participants.
Kabir Fagge Ali is a youth corp member with PRNigeria center Abuja and wrote in via firstname.lastname@example.org