Some Nigerians in Abuja have expressed mixed feelings on the
deleting of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Decree from the 1999
The development came up in the recent Senate review and consideration of
33 Bills for passage.
Swearing-in ceremony of the 2017 Batch ‘A’ (Stream One) Corps
The bills are contained in the report of the Joint Committee of the National
Assembly on the review of the 1999 Constitution.
In their separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja,
while some welcome the development, others expressed concern on its
consequences in the lives of youths and national development.
Mrs Ene Ede, Gender Advisor, National Democratic Institute (NDI), said the
development would allow the democratic process to become more
participatory, inclusive, accessible and responsive to the needs and
aspirations of the people.
Ede also said that it would prevent rigidity within the domain of
parliamentarians who the citizens were not sure had their common interest
“My problem with Nigeria is that sometimes people can take advantage of
lapses in processes.
“Altering the constitution to delete certain decrees can mean various things.
My fear in this is that, it may be taken advantage of.
“Imagine if someone is not in support of gender equity and then he decides
to suggest something that is against women, how do you now balance
“We are also suffering from religious and ethnic bias in this country, so the
most important thing for me is inclusiveness.
“If the process is transparent, inclusive, accountable, gender sensitive,
responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people and driven by the
people then, it is good,” Ede said.
Mr Abdulrazak Salawu, the NYSC, FCT Coordinator, said deleting the decree
guiding the NYSC from the 1999 constitution would expose the scheme to
Salawu said it was because the NYSC decree was in the constitution that
allowed it to be sustained through the years, making it grow and evolve in
its activities, including addressing youth unemployment.
He urged the NASS not to toy with the NYSC decree.
Salawu said altering the constitution would give room for individuals and
groups to ‘toy’ with the mandate and guiding principles of the scheme
which had sustained it.
He said this would also be counterproductive to the growth, development
and process of the country and youths which the scheme had tried to
“If the NYSC Decree is deleted from the constitution, it will cause a lot of
problems because we are not easily objective in our decisions in this
“An individual can just choose to be subjective for his or her own interest.
If we do this, we will be toying with the lives and the future of the Nigerian
“NYSC is the only youth development programme set up by the Federal
Government that has been sustained over the years.
“We should not toy with the future of the youth. NYSC is currently playing
pivotal role in youth development, implementation of government policies,
promotion of inter-tribal marriages for national integration and unity.
“Everyone is a stakeholder in this scheme because it involves all and do
not forget that even developed countries and most African countries are
coming to Nigeria indicating interest in the NYSC.
“Nigeria is a consultant in youth development for most African countries as
they wish to duplicate NYSC in their various countries, so we need to be
careful with how we handle this.
“Our doors have been open and continue to be open for us to engage in
Public Private Partnership (PPP) with individuals, agencies and
organisations interested in youth development.
“So, all stakeholders are already involved in the scheme.”
He urged NASS not to ignore the role and contribution of the NYSC to the
growth and development of Nigeria which may be affected if the decree
guiding and guarding it was altered.
Also, Alhaji Isa Hussaini, a media consultant, who also welcome
development however, said that the process involved in amending the
constitution, was often cumbersome.
He suggested that before deleting the decree from the constitution, it should
be strengthened in such a way that no individual, no matter the position,
could alter the law.
According to Hussaini, when the NYSC decree is deleted from the
constitution before it can be amended, there should be public hearing
“I think having NYSC in the constitution is good but the world is evolving
and things are changing, we also need to change with the times and
amend the constitution in line with the dynamic nature of the society.
“I think it is better to remove it from the constitution and set up an act of
parliament to guide the institution.
“The law should, however, be strengthened in such a way that no President
or individual can come in to make changes as it suits him or her.
“The NYSC has really helped parents in terms of keeping their children
engaged, training them in various skills and providing monthly stipends for
Mr Tony Madaki, a lecturer at the Nassarawa State Polytechnic, Keffi, urged
the NASS to only amend the relevant section of the constitution as it
affected the NYSC but leave the scheme in the constitution.
Madaki said this would allow the scheme to remain protected and relevant
to the growth and development of the youth and the nation.
“The scheme has always been protected by the constitution and I think this
should remain so.
“For me, I feel that any relevant section of the constitution that needs
amendment should be amended, but the NYSC decree should be allowed to
remain in the constitution.