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National Youth Service Corps orientation held in Borno State after being suspended for 13 years because of the insurgency

12 September 2023
Reading time: 5 minutes

Tight security as 629 male and 496 female graduates from all over Nigeria are sworn in as corps members during a three-week orientation course in Maiduguri.

Graduates from all over Nigeria gathered in Maiduguri on August 21 to begin a three-week orientation course of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) – the first held in Borno State for 13 years because of the insurgency.
There were 1,125 graduates – 629 males and 496 females – who were sworn in as corps members.

Governor Babagana Zulum told journalists he was pleased about the orientation camp’s return to the state saying it represented the restoration of peace and security after years of conflict.

The graduates were camped at the Arabic Teachers’ College, a temporary orientation camp in Maiduguri, the state’s capital. The former orientation camp was taken over by internally displaced persons from Damboa, Gwoza and Konduga during the conflict.

During orientation the graduates were under the watchful eyes of soldiers, police, civil defence and civilian joint task force members.

This year the safety of the corps members was the major priority because it was held in Borno State, the epicentre of the conflict.

This was of particular concern also because gunmen abducted eight members of the NYSC on a highway in Zamfara on Saturday, August 19. The corps members were travelling to Sokoto State, en route to Zamfara State, to take part in the mandatory national service.

The NYSC was created in 1973 during the military regime to involve all graduates – from various ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds – to promote integration and to become involved in nation-building and the development of the country.

It is compulsory and mandated by Nigerian law for every person who graduates below the age of 30 to complete a year of service with the NYSC. It starts with the three-week orientation course, after which corps members are posted for one year to their place of primary assignment.

Zulum told NYSC to find science, medical and paramedical graduates to be sent to Borno State to work for the Borno State government.

The NYSC management takes into consideration the areas of specialisation of corps members when deciding where they should be posted.
Emphasis is placed in rural postings in the areas of agriculture, health, education and infrastructure. The NYSC said it was expected that corps members should accept their posting and be agents of change contributing towards the development of their host communities.

Over the years, many corps members had been able to construct bridges, healthcare centres, classroom blocks, market stalls and culverts, among other structures. They had also carried out projects like HIV awareness programmes, adult literacy campaigns, extra-mural classes for pupils and road safety campaigns.

The orientation course content involves physical training, drills, lectures on the people and traditions of the host state, as well as skills acquisition training. Corps members participate in social activities designed to create opportunities for them to interact.
The objectives of the orientation course are:
To give corps members a better understanding of the objectives of the NYSC and enable them internalise its ideals;
To acquaint members with their environment in their political, cultural, social and economic setting;
To prepare corps members for their particular roles; 
To equip them with practical, social and leadership skills that will enable them meet the challenges of the service year ahead;
To inculcate in the corps members the spirit of national consciousness as a basic ingredient in nation building;
To instil discipline;
To give corps members adequate physical and mental training; and
To imbibe them with the spirit of collective responsibility.
In Maiduguri, Mohammed Hassan said: “I came from Bauchi state for the orientation course. During our swearing-in ceremony, we were told that our safety was the key issue. Government and NYSC officials said security personnel would on hand to keep us safe. They also assured us that we would be returned home safely.”

Usman Hassan, from Nasarawa State, told RNI that the orientation had been a great success.

“We didn’t encounter any problems during our three-week stay. I enjoyed the orientation. I was a bit worried when I heard orientation was being held in Maiduguri because of the conflict in Borno State but we had security personnel watching over us. And they were with us on our return.”
Kashim Mohammed Kyari, Borno State’s NYSC official inspector, said the orientation had gone well.

“There was tight security and at no time were the corps members in any danger. We also ensured they had security personnel with them on their return. They left at about 6am on Friday, September 8, and were escorted to Damaturu State, from where they made their own way back to their homes.”

After orientation, the new corps member are granted leave for two weeks and then begin their service in one of Nigeria’s 36 states or the federal capital territory.

At the end of the service year \corps members are gathered in their respective zones for assessment of the service year and debriefing.

Parade rehearsals are conducted in readiness for the passing-out ceremony which is usually presided over by the governor of the state where they served.


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