Walking Targets


In one of the most widely acclaimed elections in recent times, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan  emerged the winner by winning the required quota of two-thirds of the states. It was a result widely accepted by many of the opposition parties with the notable exception of the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). There was no small amount of irritation when the reports started coming in on the news that there were pockets of violence in the northern parts. Not a few people reacted with, These mallams have started again. It is certainly not my aim here to explore the causes of these crises. This has been done by more qualified people and it will serve no purpose. I however want to focus on a class of people that have, over time, come to be seen as an expendable resource and are now seen as targets for every sort of exploitation.

With the NYSC scheme in its 38th (pardon if I’m mistaken) year, it is becoming very obvious that it is no longer wholesome to send youths to various parts of the country with no protection or adequate provision for their bodily needs. Stories abound of corps members being taken advantage of by employers and even by the natives of the places they are posted to. The NYSC is simply helpless to do anything about it because they are practically begging organisations to take in corps members. And now, of course, the situation of having them as the targets of attacks has come up. This situation is not just in the northern parts even though it is more pronounced there. Even here in the south, reports are coming in of how, indigenes are threatening the lives and limbs of those who are serving the country.

As sad as the situation is, I cannot, in good conscience call for the scrapping of the scheme. Not a few schools in the rural areas would break down completely and so many beneficial projects by corps members will never be realised. There is just too much good that is being done all over the country that justifies the continuation of the scheme. I want to propose two revisions.

First, I think it makes no sense to make it as long as a year. Perhaps, six months would suffice. There is no need to keep some people for such a long time when there is such a backlog of people waiting to go to service in many schools. I also believe that the prospects should be given some freedom to choose, at least, the geographical region in which they will serve. Since it is obvious that the government can no longer provide security and the lives of members of the scheme are forfeit, it is only fair that one – pardon the expression – chooses one’s poison. Afterall, we need to be compensated for being made ‘walking targets’.

I’d love to hear what you think. Do comment and invite others to. Thanks. 🙂

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5 thoughts on “Walking Targets

  1. I’m happy u didn’t call for the scrapping of nysc, as I would have disagreed out of hand. As for making it 6 months, even those who would handle the admin side need rest in between. The problems that the nysc faces are a microcosm of nigeria’s problems because the scheme exists in that environment called ‘nigeria’. Once this country is properly governed in most places, the issues will be reduced.

  2. Hmmm… well your suggestions might sound reasonable and may be justified by the present situation of things but you have to take into consideration the culture of Nigerian students: those two options might be temporary solutions but would first defeat the purpose of the scheme and few people as not everybody schools in their various hometowns will choose places tht you so rightly mentioned benefit from the scheme. I’ll suggest (which is the solution to Nigeria’s problem in general) doing things right. NYSC are the Govt’s babies and should be properly taken care of and their needs met. If accommodations are provided and security heightened, their funds and allowances properly dispensed and the right organisations and Govt parastatas doing their jobs and checking these crimes against humanity, we might see a change. I wonder if any human right activist organisation has action against the administration over their carelessness and negligence over the lives of precious Nigerian youths… with enough evidence, you could get an injunction to even support your temporary solutions. What are the courts for? Are Nigerians not tired of this nonchalant attitude towards events in the country? Are we so unconcerned with the present situation of things? Don’t we want change? Aren’t we fed up after 50 years? We can start by taking the necessary steps supported by law!

  3. Thanks for your comments people. But i merely suggest that until the government is willing and/or able to do better, they should not demand so much.

  4. Well… I don’t think the ‘poison-choosing’ will work. But I’m firmly in support of it being 6 months. I’m also in support of life insurance and the NYSC board asking the communities if they want corpers. No point in forcing corpers on an unwilling, education-hating (Boko Haram) community

  5. Imho, it is not enough to simply ‘ask’ host communities if they want corps members. Most of them will not say no because they know the disadvantages of doing that. So security will still be a main issue.

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