Stakeholders have expressed divergent views on the proposed bill seeking to scrap the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), which passed through second reading at the House of Representatives on Monday.
Speaking in separate interviews with our reporter on Thursday, they agreed that Nigeria’s unity must not be compromised.
Prof. Julius Ademokoya, the immediate past Chairman, Dean of Deans of Education in Nigeria, noted that the objectives for the establishment of NYSC had become outdated.
According to him, the understanding, which characterised the programme initially, have disappeared.
He added that the scheme was originally meant to integrate young Nigerians from various ethnic groups.
“But security challenges, being faced by the Nigerians, had destroyed the good intention.
“A programme that was designed to promote unity has now become a challenge to that unity, as they are no longer safe to travel to different parts of the country.
“My take is that the scheme should be stopped for about three or more years, to reassess the entire situation.
“If security is okay, then we can go ahead with the programme because parents, and even children, usually entertain fear on where they would be posted,” Ademokoya said.
The don, who teaches at the University of Ibadan, stressed that graduates could stay in their regions where their safety could be guaranteed.
But Dr Madinat Rufai, a parent and teacher, however, decried the attempt to scrap the NYSC, describing it as a divisive motive.
Rufai reiterated the fact that if the bill is assented to, Nigeria might experience some division.
“As we know, the scheme enables us to understand one another, including our differences, which enables us to be better citizens.
“Many years ago, I served in Anambra and learnt about the Igbo culture.
“Without the programme, I do not think I would have known about them till date.
“What I think we should do, is for everybody to think about how to overcome the current security challenge and move Nigeria forward.
“We should find a solution to the threat instead of killing the country further, through one of the few programmes that have united us.
“Division will not help anyone,” Rufai said.
Recall that a federal lawmaker, Awaji Abiate, representing Andoni Opobo/Nkor Federal Constituency of Rivers, sponsored the bill.
Abiate had contended that the lives of young Nigerians, who are posted to different communities in Nigeria were no longer secure.
According to him, this is due to incessant killings of corps members as a result of banditry, kidnapping and religious extremism.