The House of Representatives is expected to commence debate on the general principles of a bill which seeks scrapping of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) which was established on the May 22,1973, under Decree No. 24 of 1973 as a way of reconciling and reintegrating Nigerians after the civil war which occurred between July 6, 1967, and January 15, 1970.
The private member bill which seeks to alter the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) by repealing Section 315(5a) and for related matters, was sponsored by Hon. Awaji-Inombek Abiante (PDP-Rivers).
The proposed bill which scaled through First Reading last week is expected to be slated for the Second reading on the legislative date to be determined by the House Committee on Rules and Business.
According to Clause 1 of the bill seen by Tribune Online, Hon Abiante proposed the amendment of Section 315 (5a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) is hereby – Section 315(5a) repealed thus Section 315(5a, b and c now read: “Nothing in this Constitution shall invalidate the following enactments, that is to say: the Public Complaints Commission Act; the National Security Agencies Act; the Land Use Act and the provisions of those enactments shall continue to apply and have full effect in accordance with their tenor and to the like extent as any other provisions forming part of this Constitution and shall not be altered or repealed except in accordance with the provisions of Section 9(2) of this Constitution.
As stipulated in the Explanatory Memorandum of the proposed amendment, the bill “seeks to repeal Section 315 (5) (a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) on the following grounds: Incessant killing of innocent Corps Members in some parts of the Country due to banditry, religion extremism and ethnic violence as well as incessant kidnapping of innocent corps members across the country.
The proponent of the bill also decried other challenged bedevilling the scheme such as; public and private agencies/departments are no longer recruiting able and qualified Nigerian youths, thus relying heavily on the availability of Corps Members who are not being well remunerated, and get discarded with impunity at the end of their service year without any hope of being gainfully employed;
“Due to insecurity across the country, the National Youth Service Corps Management now give considerations to posting corps members to their geo-political zone, thus defeating one of the objectives of setting up the Service Corps i.e. developing common ties among the Nigerian youths and promote national unity and integration.”
According to him, “many corps members are being used by their employers for jobs that have no bearing on the skills acquired at institutions of higher learning, thus making them unemployable after their service year.
“The available camp facilities/officials are grossly inadequate to contain the number of Nigerian graduates participating in the scheme, thus creating unpleasant situations to the corps members during the orientation programme.”