FEATURE ARTICLE

Temple Chima UbochiFriday, November 13, 2009
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Bonn, Germany

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NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE CORPS (NYSC): HAS IT OUTLIVED ITS USEFULNESS?

You may trod me in the very dirt. But, still like dust I'll rise (Maya Angelou)
I have never known a more vulgar expression of betrayal and deceit. (Lucien Bouchard)
When I consider life, it is all a cheat. Yet fooled with hope, people favor this deceit. (John Dryden)
When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery? (Eleanor Roosevelt)
The desire to forget the past is a form of suicide. I have come to believe many would sooner die than remove our masks and stand barefaced before the world (Richard Bare)
The government must bring my son back to me. They took my son away alive and I want him back alive, because I trained him with my retirement money. I am a retired teacher and the mother is also retired. He is our last born and I started training him after my retirement 16 years ago. He cannot just be killed like that. (The heart-rending words of a father (Pa Adetola) whose son, a youth corps member, was killed during the 2008 Jos mayhem)


National Youth Service Corps members wearing those familiar boots, even way back when

National Youth Service Corps on parade


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o digress upfront: Yar'Adua said on Thursday, November 12, 2009 that he will entrench probity and integrity in governance. Saying that his administration will do all it takes to entrench probity, integrity, transparency and accountability in the conduct of government business. He added that the Federal Government would neither shield nor protect any public official who falls foul of the law or breaches the Code of Conduct for public officers. His words: “I do reiterate before the entire nation, on this day, that my administration will neither shield nor protect any public official who falls foul of the law or breaches the code of Conduct for public officers.“ According to him, “this guiding principle shall continue to be with sustained focus on the delivery of quality service to the people of this country who have graciously entrusted us with the mandate of transforming Nigeria into an economically strong, politically stable and prosperous nation.” Yar’Adua also expressed his unyielding commitment to zero tolerance for corruption as a cardinal principle of governance, which was predicated on an abiding belief that sustained growth, socio-economic development and effective national regeneration cannot be attained with corrupted and contaminated governance and political process.

When one reads this, it's not hard to detect the deceitful nature of this president. This is a man through half of his tenure, still speaking as if his administration started off only yesterday. These two years, he has only hibernated in Aso Rock and made mincemeat of the war against corruption started by his predecessor. Then at this eleventh hour (close to its midnight) of his administration, he's telling us that he would entrench probity and integrity, when he has been shielding corrupt ex-governors, chief among them Ibori, away from justice. No wonder, the rulers take Nigerians for fools, otherwise, this "snail" wouldn't have the gut to insult our intelligence.

Sequel to my last article, we’re relieved that the justices of the appeal court in Enugu have done the right thing. For now a constitutional crisis has been averted in Anambra state.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu, on November 13, 2009, dismissed the application filed by the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) in the 2007 election in Anambra state, Andy Uba, seeking to be automatically sworn in upon the expiration of the tenure of Governor Peter Obi on March 17, 2010 without any election.

The court said it was in support of the position of the Supreme Court on the matter which had earlier held that there was no vacancy in the gubernatorial seat of Anambra as at the time the said election which purportedly returned Uba was conducted.

The appellate court was unequivocal in its decision to reject Uba’s prayer to declare him Governor-in- waiting on the strength of his earlier victory at the poll, saying the governorship seat was not a traditional stool that should be hereditary. In a unanimous judgment delivered by the five-man panel of justices led by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, the appellate court held that although it had jurisdiction to entertain the application, but after due consideration and looking at the arguments by the applicant and respondents, the court had no choice than to dismiss the application in its entirety as it “lacks merit and has no moral basis and will be a judicial blunder of immense proportion to grant these reliefs being sought”.

The Ubas (Andy and Chris) should now know that they are fast turning into “relics” of political history in Anambra State, as the state has no place again for them. They should consign themselves into the “dustbin” of political history from now on and allow peace to reign in the state. There’s no place for politics of intimidation, bribery and thuggery again in the state.

To the article: Nigeria is a deception. Democracy/elections here are deceptive. Everything/programme conceived and implemented by the government are based on deception. The "no victor, no vanquish" slogan was a deception. The 3Rs (reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation) after the war, was a deception. The present and past governments is/were all deceitful. Nigerians have been deluded since the so called independence. Everything about the country is fake/illusion. The conception of NYSC was based on deception (although, it served useful purposes at the very beginning of it). The aim has been to post corps members to state and region other than theirs so that they can learn the culture and ways of life of their host community. This aim has not been realized, because, Nigerians still think about their own ethnicity and state of origin first and foremost before Nigeria. Also, some corps members with parents who have connections to the high and mighty have been posted to areas of their choice. Suffice it to say that NYSC hasn’t really served its purpose. The goal of the programme has been defeated. The whole thing needs a re-evaluation. NYSC was conceived to reconcile Nigerians after the war, to learn other ethnic groups’ cultures and ways of life, but, Nigerians are yet to be reconciled. What companies, people, government offices and agencies do, is to see the scheme as a source of free labour, they use those corps members and dump them after a year, without offering them employment, while others see some of the female corps members as objects of their sexual desires within the service period.

“It may be recalled that when General Yakubu Gowon, then the military Head of State muted the idea of the NYSC as reflected in his speech on 1st October 1972, it generated heated debate and a lot of agitation from a cross-section of the public. Students of tertiary institutions protested vehemently. Those on self-sponsorship asked the Federal Government to take full responsibility of their education if they were to participate. Undaunted, the Federal Government promulgated Decree 24 on 22nd May, 1973 to establish the NYSC! At the beginning the concept and motive seemed patriotic enough. It was to mobilize Nigerian youths, to be at the forefront of the task of nation building through mutual understanding and respect. But several factors have since militated against the success of the scheme. The first is that national unity is never forced, anywhere in the world. It is engendered by statesmen and leaders, who have exhibited patriotism, altruism and selfless service to the nation, more by concrete actions than by puerile precepts. Most unfortunately, many past successive leaders have shown that they were more interested in feathering their nests; milking the crude oil cash cow dry than leaving legacies worth emulating by the youths”. (Ayo Oyoze Baje)


National Youth Service Corps photo at: https://oluwakemi-folaranmi.last-memories.com/

The programme is in dire need of reform so for it to guarantee for each corps member, a safe, healthy, enabling/fulfilling environment. It’s putting the welfare and safety of our youths in jeopardy. The corps members are exposed to all kinds of danger and risks. The corps members might unknowingly take up accommodation in a house or compound owned by dangerous and wicked people, surviving in hostile environments and the worse is that the stipend they are being paid would get them nowhere with a month. The twenty nine thousand naira stipend approved for corps members in this year budget is still yet to be implemented, they still receive about N9, 000, and the remaining twenty thousand has not been accounted for. Talking of the kind of environment the corps members are dumped in, News had it that there is fear of epidemics outbreak in Taraba State's orientation camp. We are told that the current deplorable condition of basic amenities at the Government College, Jalingo, premises of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camp in Taraba State, made the people there to raise alarm over a possible outbreak of epidemics in the school.

We learnt that there's an acute shortage of water supply at the camp while the pit toilets at the camp were in bad state, forcing about 800 corps members, NYSC employees and others to answer the call of nature in nearby bushes. Some teachers in the school also expressed concern over its use as NYSC camp, as this disrupts the school calendar with the pupils sent on forced holidays. Some corps members lamented that the state government and NYSC officials were treating their wellbeing with levity. One of them said: “You can see the kind of environment they have dumped us. In a civilised country, I don't think a dairy farmer can use this place for his animals. The attitude of the authority compelled some of our colleagues to redeploy to other states. Those who knew of the conditions here beforehand do refuse to come at all if posted here”. Another corps member said: “The situation here, my brother, is very terrible. I never knew that in spite of the oil money they claim they are sharing to state governments, some states are still backward like this”. The corps members complained that they spend over N100 daily to buy water to drink and bathe, lending credence to what one of my readers who's serving in another northern state told me.

The programme now offers a fertile ground for rape, prostitution, and murder. The argument against the service is that it’s not what it was about 30 years ago, that it has outlived its usefulness and it’s high time to scrap the scheme that is drilling a hole in the nation’s pocket (money guzzling).

On November 3, 2009, two female corps members were raped in Kano. The unfortunate duo was raped at gunpoint to a state of semi consciousness by a gang of 14 young men at their place of primary assignment in Fagge area of Kano State. One of them is a native of Lagos State while the other victim hails from Oyo State. The brutal assault, we were told, took place at the home of the female corps members, which is situated at the official ‘Corpers lodge’ of Adamu Vice Secondary School, in Fagge. This lodge is located within a walking distance from the secretariat of the Fagge Local Government Council and of a similar distance from the Fagge Divisional Police Station in the heart of the state capital.

We learnt that the tragic incident, which occurred after midnight, on the November 3, 2009, had the entire 14-man gang sleeping with the ladies in turns. The raping took place after the gang had scared off the school’s gate men and the male corps members in their midst, locking up the former in a nearby female staff quarters and the latter in a small room in the compound. The female corps members were already asleep at the time. At first, the female victims refused to the open their doors, but they were later persuaded by the watchmen and the fellow corps members, who pleaded with them to open the door in order to avoid being killed. Later on, they opened the door. The gang first collected their money, then their handsets, their wrappers and their foodstuffs, which was in the carton, because one of them was about to travel and had arranged her things. And thereafter, they raped all of them.

Every now and then, gory and pathetic stories are being heard. During the 2008 Jos ethnic mayhem, a corps member, Olusola Adetola, who would have completed his service year in three months time, alongside two of his fellow corps members, Akande Olalekan and Akinjogbin Ibumkun were killed while they were on a mission of service to their fatherland. After the death of these corps members in 2008 in Jos, and following the attendant condemnations which followed it, we thought that the worse was over. We were dead wrong.


Legendary NYSC boots

Recently, a female member of the scheme in Niger state, was strangulated to death by her male colleague for keeping a company of other men .The worse so far has been the case of another female member of the scheme, Miss Grace Adie Ushang, who lost her life while on the compulsory one-year national service . She died after she was allegedly attacked, raped and murdered by some yet-to-be -identified hoodlums in the neighbourhood of her place of primary assignment in Borno state. Ushang who was serving at the El-Kanemi College of Business Administration (ECOBA), Borno state, was murdered on September 27, 2009. Ushang, 25 hailed from Obudu, Cross River state and was a graduate of Education Administration from the University of Calabar. Story had it that the late Ushang met her death at about 6.30 pm after she left the corpers’ lodge, presumably on an evening stroll within the neighbourhood. Her corpse was later found at about 8.00 pm near the riverside. Preliminary investigations indicated that her assailants might have attacked her on the ground that she was wearing a pair of khaki trousers, the official uniform of the NYSC, which is considered as indecent dressing in the predominantly Muslim community. A medical report confirmed that the deceased was physically assaulted and sustained grievous injuries and in the process met her untimely death.

The question here has been: What do those snots who killed her wanted her to wear? Don’t they know that every corps member must wear that attire? Why didn’t the government at all tiers, enlighten the stupid and illiterate religious bigots, that a female member of the scheme must wear trousers or were they thinking that even the southerners posted to their area must convert to Islam in order to serve in their territory? That’s the problem with Nigerian authorities, they initiate and implement programme without educating the public of what it entails first and foremost. Information dissemination in the country is poor or non extent. I wonder what the role of the Ministry of Information and culture has been all along. Cut this crap, everything about the country is deceitful, this scheme is a deception, so everyone to his/her tent, oh Nigerians. I’m vexed reading these kinds of gibberish.

The worse is that those miscreants who perpetrated this crime are still at large, the police has not arrested them up till now. They should be identified, arrested, charged and given the maximum punishment. Parents cannot suffer to raise up their children only to loss them to one stupid programme conceived by deceitful Nigerians and only for some social miscreants to cut short their life in a very gruesome manner.

For me the scheme has lost its relevance, it's time to take the bull by the horn and stop deceiving ourselves while putting innocent Nigerians through harm's way. These ugly incidences show we don't need the scheme any more.

The scheme, established some 35 years ago, had among its key objectives, national unity via ethnic integration. Coming in the wake of the Nigerian civil war that left close to 3 million people in the eastern part of the country dead, the idea behind the scheme is to foster national unity among the various ethnic groups in Nigeria. But with these deaths and raping of the corps members, the scheme has not only proved that it’s not serving its intended purpose and has also proved over and over again, as an experiment, that’s getting too costly with the number of lives of youths it has claimed.

If to paraphrase the Punch of December 11, 2008:Though arguments in favour of the scheme point to the benefits of the NYSC in terms of inter-ethnic marriages, job opportunities that it has provided to various corps members who served in certain states, opportunity to explore a large and diverse nation like Nigeria and sometimes, job trainings in the employment offered corps members for a whole year of the national service et cetera, it does not remove the fact that the NYSC scheme is not meeting its objectives anymore. If it is at all, it is minimal and on a very negligible scale. With thousands of youths sent on compulsory service every year, the achievement of the scheme, compared to what it fails to achieve, can best be described as marginal. Before, based on my (this writer) experience, corps members (those posted to the southern part of Nigeria) were seen as "god", they were almost worshipped and everybody were readily ready to offer one form of help or the other to them. They were regarded as "government pickin" and untouchables, and people, everywhere they were posted to for their primary assignment, tried to make things easier for them. They were loved, greeted, assisted and protected by the people of their place of primary assignment. I'm also sure that the same was obtained in the north earlier. Now, people of north and south see the scheme as their source of constant free labour, the corps members are taken as of people of little value, for some of the northerners, the female corpers members are sexual toys and the whole scheme is now being seen as useless/worthless.

Change is constant. Anything not subjected to change to meet up with the present realities, is bound to be moribund and would outlive its usefulness. Nobody has cared to reform the programme to meet the present conditions, so as to make it stand the test of time. People, who are operating it, are still living in dreamland, pretending that all's well. Since 1973 when the scheme was born, no sweeping reform of it has taken place. A programme that started with few hundred graduates, is now taking up millions of graduates, and still nobody thinks of the need to make some changes to accommodate the huge intake.

In a highly polarised ethnic environment like Nigeria, what sense is there in sending youth to states where their security cannot be guaranteed? It’s doubtful if there is any insurance covering the Corps members as they make their way on the bad roads that sprawl the Nigerian landscape. They do not have enough guarantee of assurance and NYSC officials can only do their best in crisis situations, but of course, would not feel obliged enough to lay their lives down for any corps member to live. The corps members are exposed to ethnic prejudices by blood thirsty ethnic bigots and others who have inferiority complex around the corps members for the simple reason that the corps members have what they do not have - education.

If the government still thinks the scheme is serving a serious purpose in terms of giving a year of semblance of employment before they are thrust into the reality of the Nigerian labour market where the ratio of available labour to willing employers is dismally low, then it needs a rethink. Year in year out, most corps members do not get a place to serve. They are posted to places where their services are either not required, or cannot be paid for. So, they wander around looking for any place where they can be accommodated. In cases like this, the NYSC sends them to state ministries which corps members themselves have dubbed "Ministry of No Work." They simply loiter around and wait for the year to pass by. In short, the government that forces them to serve the nation for a whole year fails to provide any real opportunity or challenge for these set of youth.

If the scheme means well enough to get them trained, especially in these times when the few employers are forever asking for years of experience, then the government should invest more than lip service in training the youth sent for compulsory service. It is important to train youths to love their country and be willing to serve her all the time but patriotism or ethnic integration can never be forced on anybody. Loving Nigeria and the various peoples it is blessed with, can never be imposed on anybody's psyche. To serve Nigeria should not be by force or imposition or else it loses meaning.

Can the government truly say that the national service scheme has produced patriotic Nigerians without embarking on a journey of self delusion? While the government is not likely to be in a hurry to scrap the scheme for whatever it’s worth, it’s very important that it restructures the entire programme to fit the reality of the times. Let it look at areas of deficiency and improve on it and stop wasting public funds trying to make an outdated programme work. Every young man or woman will like to serve Nigeria, but definitely not at the expense of his or her life.

Since it is proving difficult to guarantee the safety of these youth, most of whom are the dreams of their parents personified, it may serve the government better if youth corps members are posted to their states of origin. There’s the present worry that many indigenous languages are dying. If fresh graduates are sent to their own states for their service year, it may help in rekindling the interest in mother tongues. Moreover, since ethnic clashes 'swallow' aliens, our corps members may be spared these gruesome deaths and parents, the agony of losing out after training children that are expected to be their succour at old age. But despite all the arguments, must Nigerian youths be forced to serve a country that neither offered scholarship nor education grants to students? They should stop toying with people's lives and emotions. This false notion of wazobia should wither. They might as well change the decree establishing the scheme to make it possible for each participant to serve in his/her state of origin or region, so that the northerners, who're good at raping, can be having their own to rape, as those committing that heinous crime cannot control that stupid urge, and as it’s that they must rape female corps members.

The programme has the hallmark of corruption. Didn't I hear that there are now permanent youth corps members who never pass out? Embezzlement, nepotism, favouritism etc are now part and parcel of the scheme. Babatunde Olanrewaju wrote “the federal government is totally blind, selfish and corrupt; all they care for is what their bank accounts read after each National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) programme is completed. That is the reason they won't ever scrap NYSC. Just take a trip to any state headquarters, I can bet you that everyday is Christmas in there, you need to see how they share the loots which would have been made available to corps members during orientation programme. Do you see the cars the NYSC officials drive, many of them have up to six expensive mobile phones, so why on earth would they want NYSC scrapped. Those three corps members sent to early grave would have been averted had it been we live in the right society but it is a pity, several lives have been lost travelling to far away state all in the name of serving our dear country; quite a number in Batch C 2008 corps members got to camp with bandages and crutches if not for God they would have died in the ghastly accident they had. But trust those that we call our leaders, their own children won't ever be involved in such crisis. Ask me why; the NYSC officials know how they manipulate postings. They only post their own wards to where they are always protected, no wonder none of their relations was involved in the crisis or would be involved, even while on camp they give them special treat, they wear classic uniforms different from others while the masses children serve in pains. I guess this is the time to call for a crusade, the time to call for NYSC scrapping; only God knows what await corps members in years to come and if the federal government won't scrap it because of their selfish interest, then NYSC should be done according to our geo-political zone. I'm of the opinion that the ethnic extremist in our ailing society will have all the time in the world to unleash trouble on their own. If we must serve the country that doesn't have anything to serve us (no electricity supply, security has never been at its best, road networking is zero, health service is nothing to write home etc) then we should do it without paying with our lives".

Awolaja of Tribune Newspapers wrote that of the extant institutions which have become irrelevant in Nigeria today is the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. However, despite calls by perceptive observers for its dissolution, the Federal Government has chosen to continue with the programme. This decision, it would seem, stems from the government’s unwillingness to accept the fact of its failure – its dismal and irredeemable failure – with huge implications for social transformation and regeneration.

The NYSC camp life, as everyone knows, is simply hell for the corps member, owing largely to corruption by NYSC officials. For not only are the corps members camped, in most cases, under inhuman conditions – that is, with little or no basic facilities as potable water, good kits and accommodation, etc – they are served food which, in decent climes, should not even be served prisoners. One of the surest ways to contract typhoid fever, for instance, is to try drinking the “tea” served on camp. Again, while the corps members are supposed to live in their host communities for a year, in reality, less than 30 per cent of those mobilised actually serve the country: the rest return to their home states, only returning to the local government of service during the quarterly screening exercise. The Area Inspectors get 50 per cent or more of their monthly allowances for giving them this patriotic cover up. Indeed, the NYSC Area Inspectors and Zonal Inspectors live like kings, with compulsively generous female corps members at their fervent service. The NYSC directorate has done nothing concrete to curb this malaise, because it is staffed mostly by crooks and tyrants forever dazzled by naira notes.

Nevertheless, it is important to recognise that the foregoing reasons, however instructive, do not constitute a valid basis for dismissing the NYSC institution outright. The heart of the matter is that the NYSC has failed to achieve its fundamental objective of national integration and unity, not only because it targets people whose cultural ideas and prejudices are already fossilised but because the social context in which it had meaning has expired. Nowadays, corps members are unwilling agents thrust upon a foreign land. They are chronically poor, poorly uniformed, and only socially tolerated rather than appreciated. They lack dignity and prestige. The Nigerian government, whose officials live in suffocating luxury, currently pays N9, 500 to the hapless corps members. Shouldn’t Nigerian leaders be hanged? Of course, some idealists may posit that money does not matter so much, but I doubt the kind of society where a degree does not set your standard of living apart from a motor mechanic’s. I like the values education has instilled in me, but I would also like to have some decent cash, even as a corps member. What the NYSC presently does is to plunge Nigerian graduates into abject poverty in the name of national service. The service year is a virtual waste for the corps member, although it is a bountiful harvest for NYSC officials and their collaborators in government.

One of my (this writer) readers is currently a corps member, she's in orientation camp right now in one of the northern states. She was lucky to have found a trader at the mammy-market in the orientation camp, who has internet access and who allowed her to use it to write to me. She informed me that one hardly sees any of the NYSC local staff there who can speak English. So understanding those who’re supposed to be taking care of them becomes a war. The worse is that the NYSC cooks in this northern state, knowing fully well that these corps members came from different cultures, are only cooking northern delicacies (such as tuwo?) for them. The corps members have resorted to spending their money, buying food morning, afternoon and evening from the mama-puts in the mammy-market of the orientation camp. The best should have been for the cooks to be preparing varieties of delicacies to accommodate the taste of every corps member.

This lady told me that most of them spend between N100 - N120 daily, buying pure-water to drink as the orientation camp has only hernia-pump giving out water unfit for drinking and must be treated with dettol before being used for bathing. The corps members, while in orientation camp there (3 weeks), are not allowed to leave the camp. It’s an offence to see a corps member outside the four walls of the camp within this 3 week. I was told that one of the male corps members managed to sneak out to change a huge amount of dollars into naira and was caught. Then the camp commandant was relieved of his duty and the security in the camp tightened the more because of that lapse. After reading this pathetic story, I started wondering, if the scheme has been turned into a punishment for corps members. Even though that the orientation camp is meant to test the endurance (endurance training) of the corps members, it should be mellowed, as those corps members are not conscripts for real military service.

The raping and killing was used as weapons of war during the civil war. We never knew that even the northern civilians internalized that vice and for so many of them, the war has never ended, for some of them sending southerners to their territory, is just sending enemies to them. We never knew that “rape and kill” which was the siege mentality of the Nigerian military during the war, is not for militaristic adventures only.

Northern part of Nigeria, inhabited by people who are predominantly Muslims, have their religion and culture which permit them to marry as many as 100 wives, even girls as young as 12 years old, can be betrothed/married off. Many of them having problem keeping their pants in place, should go and marry as many wives as they want. They should leave the southern girls, sent on national service there, alone. It’s unfortunate that these northerners, despite having numerous wives, won’t stop dream about “tasting” the southern girls.

I don’t know what to say, the government cannot provide security for anybody, so asking for special protection of the corps members might be a tall order, but still at that, I’m compelled to tell them to do so. The northern states governments should warn their citizens to keep their pants always up, they should be told that the female corps members were not sent there for their raping escapade or free sex.

Do I blame those who vowed not to allow their son/daughter to serve in any of the northern states or to go to court to effect a change of posting? No matter how myopic this idea might sound, there’s sense in it. Is it any wonder that many parents/guardians do always influence where their children are posted, because, they want to avoid the north like plague. Someone said this: "The earlier we stop this scheme the better for Nigeria. There will be more deaths for this great and young Nigerians who go through hell while at school only to be abused, rapped, maimed and even killed after studies in the national youth service scheme, especially in the Northern part of Nigeria. Let one person tell me one vivid lesson gotten from this scheme except pain and hardship for guardians whose wards serve in the Northern part of Nigeria. Of course if my daughter finishes her studies, I will make it impossible for her to serve in the North, It doesn't worth it. That is how senselessly dangerous this failed programme has become. What about the rapists and killers of the innocent Grace who went to help the less educated wards in Borno state also in the North? Her crime was going there to help!! What a shame!!"

Some of these corps members are in their early 20s and are leaving the environment they are used to for the first time in their lives, when embarking on the service. Assaulting the female members sexually or otherwise, would leave them with a last negative impression of Nigeria as a country that cannot protect its citizens, the north as a region having people who loose it all whenever they see anything in skirt (wild dogs).

The northern female youth corpers posted to the south, are not molested, instead, many of them are showered with affection and are assisted to make life easier for them throughout the service period, but, the northerners, instead of reciprocating the southerners' gestures towards their people posted to the south, are raping and maltreating some of the southerners. Having said that, I must say that there are good natured and kind northerners who are helping the southerners posted to their area, so we should not allow the foolery of a few to be used in judging the whole north. I have no doubt that there are some northerners showering some of the southern female youth corpers with agape love. It's also not lost on me, that some communities of the north are doing all they can to make life easier for the corps members posted to their area for primary assignments.

I still can vouch that not every southerner or every southern community has been very helpful to the northern youth corps members posted to the area. There might as well be cases of attempted rape of female youth corps members in southern part of Nigeria which went unreported, who knows? The point I'm making is that there are good and bad everywhere, it's only the proportional of each that makes the difference. What that might be an isolated case in the south, might be almost the norm in the north (attempt to rape female youth corps members).

I would want to ask if those perpetrating this atrocity have daughters or sisters and how they would feel, if any of them is being subjected to the agony and stigma of rape, which they are unleashing on other people's daughters and sisters. I know there’s nothing that can remove the agony and stigma of rape, but, better than nothing, these girls who were defiled must be compensated financially and offered automatic employment by the NYSC.

My advice to the corpers of all ethnic stocks and shades, is for them to remember that there are a lot of bad people and things out there, it's a very wild world out there, so they should always take good care and should be careful the kind of friends they make and the company they keep. The female ones should not invoke misfortune upon their head by behaving in a way that would aid those who would have no qualms harming them (through salacious dressings, doing things which nature and law abhor and being where they're not supposed to).

It seems some northerners take pride in desecrating female youth corps members. I hope that some people who don't want us to point out the ills of Nigeria would condemn this atrocity or would they want Nigeria to be 200 years old before our southerner sisters can serve safely in the north? It's unfortunate that few Nigerians are telling us not ask the rulers for constant electricity, qualitative health care, qualitative education, clean drinking water, good roads, good government and good leadership because Nigeria is only 49 and not 200 years old.

THE THANXS IS ALL YOURS!!!

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