It was not surprising to hear about the scandal involving the minister of finance over the NYSC exemption letter. Although a criminal act that attracts serious sanction in the eyes of the law if at the end of investigation she is found guilty, I do not place the entire blame on her. Rather, I choose to get to the root of the matter from another stand point, which is looking at the lapses in the NYSC scheme that gave room for such acts of misconduct.
General Yakubu Gowon introduced the NYSC scheme in the year 1973, after the Nigerian civil war by Decree 24 and the major aim was to reconcile, rebuild and promote national unity. This, to a large extent the NYSC scheme has achieved. But there are loopholes in the NYSC scheme that need to be addressed.
The age limit for those eligible for the NYSC scheme is 30, but if you visit any NYSC orientation camp now, one will be shocked to see corps members who are above the stipulated age. It is no longer news that there are also fake NYSC orientation camps in the country as well as unqualified individuals and part time students who gain access to call-up letters and find themselves in various orientation camps across the country.
The alleged forgery of an exemption certificate is an indication that all is not well with the scheme. There are many fake exemption letters as well as fake NYSC certificates in circulation. There is a need for the authourities to overhaul the system and right all the wrongs so that the scheme can achieve all that is it meant to.
Ekpe Madonna Uchechi wrote in from Bayero University, Kano
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