NYSC @50: Should the scheme be scrapped or sustained?

 NYSC @50: Should the scheme be scrapped or sustained?

On May 22, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) will mark its 50 years of existence. The scheme was established on May 22, 1973, primarily to foster unity among Nigerians following the devastating impact of the 1967-1970 civil war on the country.

By its design, the scheme was also introduced to prepare fresh graduates for life after school by equipping them with entrepreneurial skills to become self-employed and contribute to the accelerated growth of the national economy.

In recent years, however, the scheme has come under intense scrutiny, with many questioning its relevance. While some argue that the scheme is no longer relevant and should be scrapped, others contend that it should be sustained.

In this edition of CrispNG Parliament, we gauge the opinions of Nigerians and the arguments surrounding the scheme ahead of its 50th anniversary.

Here is what those sampled had to say:

Otti Augusta

I think that the NYSC scheme is both helpful and worthwhile. It’s important for the nation being that the goal of NYSC is to integrate the nation, to promote unity among the different parts of the nation in that we are diverse people bound together by circumstances and now have to become one and I feel that it’s fulfilling that role for which it was originally slated for.

It should be sustained and improved. It should get better with years and not worse, because people get the opportunity to experience and explore other parts of the country, which is a beautiful way of uniting the nation, so, in that aspect I feel it should be sustained.

I was looking forward to experiencing something new and NYSC did that for me, as I was posted to Bayelsa. I met a new people, culture and language and I had to start learning some things that I was not used to. it was beautiful and I will just summarize my experience to be majorly good, the best part being that I met amazing people who have turned to family for life.

I’ve had the opportunity to be in leadership positions throughout the NYSC period. I learnt a lot having served as the vice president of my CDS group, as well as serving in Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship (NCCF); the religious body which I affiliated myself with and it was just a wonderful experience for me seeing young people coming together to do things by themselves. We had to figure out how to live, and how we were going to survive, and that’s the point of it.

It is supposed to give us the stamina to go out into the wider world, to look out for opportunities in the wider world, and that’s the goal of the NYSC I believe. The ugly experience was when I began experiencing the negative things that even people in the state began to experience.

We experienced the flood, it wasn’t a good sight and it’s not something to be joked with, but in the end I can see that it has opened me up to new perspectives being that I’m coming from a place where I’ve never experienced such and having experienced that it made me much more empathetic, it made me see the sufferings of other people and helped me to be empathetic towards that.

The bad experiences were collective and just a couple of bad days and ‘sapa’. So yeah, it was good. I would not trade that experience for anything. My one-year service was actually worth it and I’m happy to have served in Bayelsa. I’m happy to have served my country.
To improve the scheme there should be an increment of allowance seeing that the cost of living is skyrocketing.

Also, I found out that one of the problems that corps members have is the shortage of accommodation and we know that even the meagre 33,000 naira allowance cannot cater for their housing expenses especially in a state like Bayelsa. Some people are being posted to places where they aren’t provided with accommodation and possibly the corpers’ lodge that is available is in bad state.

The corpers lodge in Ekeki, Bayelsa is in a very bad state, it’s a mess, you cannot live there. It’s a very old structure that’s been there for years, although they’ve built a new one, but it can’t accommodate everybody because corps members are posted in thousands.

Also, the security of corpers in the interiors should be looked into and they should be given more care because they’re coming to a new place, a new village, some have their aspirations and hopes, they need the internet and other things, and if you are going to be denying them of that you should give them something better.

NYSC should incorporate job opportunities, they should actually give proper jobs not just this orientation that they give at the end of the service year, the state should be able to reel out available options of jobs, there’s no denying that it’s getting increasingly difficult for younger people to find jobs but if that can be done, it’s can also help corps members so that they don’t feel like after one year they don’t know what to do with their lives.

Ogbu Gloria

NYSC is actually one scheme that I’m always enthusiastic to talk about. This is because during my service, I learnt a lot and I also got so many opportunities to do so many things. It is actually a very beautiful scheme that should not be scrapped because many persons are coming from different places to new terrains.

I stayed in the North, Nassarawa state, and then I schooled in the east and I’m from the eastern part of Nigeria, but NYSC gave me the privilege of going to the west for the first time. I was posted to serve in a Ekiti state and Ekiti state actually brought me good tidings.

It was in Ekiti state that was given the privilege to actually practice what I studied in school. In my service year I got the opportunity to learn on the job talking about Mass Communication, in school we did more of theory, but here I was posted to a PPA where I got the privilege to practice what I was taught while in school. I met amazing people, made amazing connections, on a normal we cannot meet these people, but because we were posted to serve we did meet them.

I had the privilege of meeting top officials in the government, top people in journalism and this is just because I was riding on the platform of NYSC, what about the offices you enter and you tell them you are a corper, and they at least try to help you do things.

It’s actually a very beautiful experience, it’s a year of making, a year that prepares you for life, you’re prepared to go into the real world, you practicality what you learnt in the university and it’s actually given to you on a platter.

Because most times corpers are considered in communities that’s when you have corpers’ lodges, you have church lodges for free, people bring down their rent for corps members.
One thing I feel that should be reviewed is the allowance, beyond the 33,000 NYSC should have a plan for our young people.

For most PPA’s they don’t even give you stipends beyond the allowance and at the end of the day you end your service year with little to no savings, and because of the way our world is, there’s no guarantee that you are going to get a good job.

Even if it’s not reviewed, I feel that something should be done to prepare these corps members, the last month’s allowance; a sum of 200k at least should be given to them to establish them even if it’s not so much at least it can help to start something while he or she is looking for a job.

When corps members are passing out, at least N150 to N200k to start up something should be part of the beauty of the scheme beyond them going to learn about other people’s culture, beyond them serving Nigeria and getting experiences, they should serve us while we serve them.

Ibeawuchi Innocent

NYSC scheme should be sustained. We just celebrated NYSC at 50 and different sets of graduates have been incorporated in the scheme.

There are a lot of testimonies of people who met through NYSC and people who gain advanced knowledge, it should therefore be sustained and not scrapped, rather they should improve on it. Mine was a sweet-bitter experience. I learnt how to associate with people of diverse cultures and other new things.

So, it was a good one, despite the fact it was not what I would have loved if I was given a chance to choose, but having been posted to a particular location and I learnt to adapt to it quickly it is a plus for me.

For the recommendations on how this can be improved, I will say that we have been repeating the same process in terms of SAED, so it’s just different sets of graduates doing the same thing all over again, so, if there can be a review, especially towards incorporating tech in an advanced level it will be very beneficial.

Ishola Hawawu

I consider being part of the NYSC scheme to be a great achievement. My experience was the best because I met and related with people of a different language and can now boast of speaking Yoruba, Esan and English language. The villagers were nice to me all through my service year.

I love the scheme and I want it to be sustained. For it to be sustained there must creation of job opportunities, so that one doesn’t finish serving and after 5 years one doesn’t have a job. The allowance should be increased to 50,000 if possible as things are very expensive. There should also be empowerment for those who wish to be self-employed.


I understand that one of the primary reasons why NYSC was established is to unite Nigerians; which it is actually fulfilling as it has helped in reducing discrimination and stereotypes through interactions between people of different states.

Another reason for it’s establishment is to build the spirit of self-reliance and selflessness in individuals. Through NYSC you learn how to serve through which you learn the act of leadership, and so it should be sustained.

To improve the scheme, I recommend that corps members should be posted to their academic fields, not someone who studied Mass Communication being posted to teach, at least they should be able to gain the required experience needed for that field even if they don’t get an extra pay.

Expose them to real industry issues so as to prevent from commiting errors. Also to boost self-reliance corps members should be given a certain amount at the end of their service year to start something meaningful and this will really help to bring down the rate of unemployment.

Okemiri Ifunanya

I really didn’t enjoy my service year because of the stressed I went through but there are other people that sure did. I wouldn’t say it should be scrapped because it’s a medium of giving back to Corp members the resources they used while in school even if they have to work for it, and some also get employed through NYSC.

However, they should embrace digitalism a lot more, people shouldn’t be posted to places where they aren’t needed; a background check should be done on the organisation before corps members are posted, in terms of stipends some are paid handsomely while others do not have enough money for transportation which should be looked into. Gaining new knowledge is not bad, but let it be relevant to the course one studied, do not post a communication student to a hospital as it doesn’t align.

I was posted to serve in a different field from what I studied, I was rejected severally and had to start struggling to find another PPA. There are lots of things to checkmate in order to make the scheme worthwhile.

As a country a list of registered companies should be made available so that postings would be made easier as well as monitored. There should also be a fixed minimum price to be paid as stipends to corps members.

Ezeugwu Wisdom

It should be scrapped. I think it’s productive because of kingdom purpose it’s serving and also it serves as a place of training, but the motive is not for the betterment of the youths. The system has so little to offer.

The allowance paid is a meagre sum which doesn’t do so much for someone in a strange land. The money spent on transportation to states of deployment is sometimes more than what is paid as allowance and that is not a good way of empowering the youths.

NYSC is focused on empowering youths and fostering community lifestyle, but if they had the interest of the youths at heart they should know that the 33,000 isn’t enough, those enjoying the service are corps members who get stipends from their PPA.

I don’t think going to serve is necessary, if you want to empower the youths why not put the 12 months allowance together and after camping you give to the corpers, don’t you think that that will reduce unemployment in Nigeria?

And if one doesn’t utilise his or hers then you can’t blame the government. It can be improved, but currently it is a waste of time.

Although, I’ve learnt a lot, I’ve seen life, I’ve met new people, the experience matters but in terms of empowering the youths I rate them 5/100, there is no accommodation, apart from churches and NCCF that provides accommodation, many corpers are stranded, some still have to pay rents. For me, I will say I was doing better financially before my participation in the scheme.

Onyinze Chiamaka

I wouldn’t neglect the fact that the scheme has helped the youths in one way or the other, in as much as it has not helped me so much, I’m very much aware that it has helped others get connected, find something doing, get exposure and or get retained.

One thing I know is that only 10% of graduates really know what they want to do upon graduation, the remaining 90% are still trying to find out what they want and what the society holds for them.

So, I see NYSC scheme as a place of solace for the moment, it gives those 90% a foundation to start life’s journey, some are able to save some amount of money, in that one year they are groomed to be able to face reality.
NYSC should be sustained but adjustments should be made. The first one being that there should be an increment in the allowance due to the economic hardship in the country; if you really attach importance to the youths then it should be increased.

Also, the course you studied should determine your place of primary assignment, so that you don’t study to become a lawyer and then get posted to a primary school, that’s when frustration comes in, but when you are posted to a PPA where your job description relates to the course you studied, in one way or the other you’ll gain experience that will be beneficial to you and the society.

So, it shouldn’t be scrapped but improved upon being considered as a place of preparation so that one is properly equipped at least with the experience to join the work force upon leaving the scheme.

Chidi Mercy

The scheme has good intentions but bad implementations. Imagine a graduate of Agricultural Economic and Extension going to work in a secondary school with little or no training in the education sector. How will he be relevant or impact there? Will this person find satisfaction?

Most youth pause their life, especially their businesses to go on this mandatory service only to come back with little or no addition to their lives. Whereas, if you’re able to pay a large sum of money to agents or NYSC officials at your local government and, you’re sure to be at the best PPA ever. Some even pay for absenteeism.

The worst thing of all is how can you ask a young man or lady to cope, in this present economy, with N33,000. Are we going to look at the cost of feeding, personal upkeep, clothing even transportation? In some PPAs, your employer structure to even pay N2,000 for every working month. That’s a sum of N35,000 for a whole month. That’s absolute nonsense.

My experience was nostalgic, more of the bitter. I actually regret my service year to be honest. The health care facilities in the village I was posted to serve was trash. My PPAs was a school with poor leadership. We were paid #3,000 monthly. I’m grateful to my parents for always checking on my welfare. A funny story is that a day to our monthly clearance in April, I fainted. Obviously, lack of good food, good water, stress from PPA, lack of accessibility to good health care facilities (till they started implementing the NHIS scheme for Corp Members). The only part I would forever cherish is the Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship (NCCF).

There should be a restructuring from top to bottom. The cabinet should be reshuffled and more experienced people should be appointed into office. State Directors and all officials on the state level should properly allocate Corp Members to PPAs where they would be prolific and effective. This would help boost the Nation’s development, especially in the economic sectors. You have people who actually know what to do and how to do it right in these sectors.

Chukwuneke Marvellous

The NYSC program seems to be a vital one and I’ll recommend it stands so long it doesn’t take a very significant budget cost from the FG that can be used to solve other critical problems that the country has.

NYSC program is an interesting one for the newly graduated students as they get to socialize and learn about the country and be of good service to the numerous communities in various states. There’s too much to say about the benefits for the NYSC program for both the corpers and the country.

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