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Nigerians react to the removal of NYSC from the constitution

On Wednesday July 26, majority of senate members voted for the removal
of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Decree from the 1999
Constitution. This has generated mixed reactions from Nigerians.

According
to a report from Greennews, while some welcomed the development, others
expressed their concerns about its consequences in the lives of youths
and national development.

Mrs Ene Ede, Gender Advisor, National Democratic Institute, said,
“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 we now balance this?”
“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 unnecessary dangers.

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 it would be an hindrance to the
growth, development and progress of the country and youths which the
scheme had tried to support.
“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 country.”
“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 youths.”
“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 a
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.”

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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.

Alhaji Isa Hussaini, a media
consultant, welcomed the development, but, said that the process
involved in amending the constitution was often not easily managed.

He
suggested that before deleting the decree from the constitution, the
constitution be strengthened in a way that no individual, no matter the
position, can change the law.

According to Hussaini, when the
NYSC decree is deleted from the constitution before it can be amended,
there should be public hearing involving stakeholders.
“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 them.”

Mr Tony Madaki, a lecturer at the Nassarawa State
Polytechnic, Keffi, urged the NASS to only amend the relevant section of
the constitution but leave the scheme in the constitution, as it is
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.”

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