GOVERNOR Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has called on the federal government to use members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to fight the growing insecurity across the country by arming them.
Created by the military administration of General Yakubu Gowon in the early 1970s, the NYSC was designed to serve as a conduit through which Nigerians of different ethnic groups met each other. Mandatory for every graduate of a Nigerian university, polytechnic or college of education, the NYSC scheme involves Nigerian youth spending a year on national service.
Governor Fayemi, the chairman of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum (NGF), said that the intolerable security situation in the country currently requires drastic action. Speaking at an event in Ibadan, he added that the present situation in the country did not warrant the politics of blame and opportunistic opposition as it is time to build a nation and not to fritter it away.
According to Governor Fayemi, Nigeria is in need of patriotic statesmen and women and not rumour mongers, ethnic crisis entrepreneurs and provincial men of little minds who see everything from the prism of ethnic and religious conspiracy. He added that one way to bring the current wave of insecurity to a halt is to recruit a large number of people to join the police and the military, on a short service or otherwise.
He pointed out that one of the cheapest and fastest ways to handle this was to amend the law setting up the NYSC. In his speech, the governor explained that the existing orientation camps can be used to train willing and able graduates to reflate the security personnel under a special arrangement that will be worked out.
Governor Fayemi said: “By available statistics, we need a minimum of 200,000 personnel to boost the fighting power of our men. This number is very large and a potential financial and logistic nightmare, yet we cannot delay any further.
“The ungoverned spaces needed to be closed up quickly by motivated men with the singular objective to save the nation and that takes us to the number two issue of financing and arming large numbers of recruits. With this, we can use the existing orientation camps to train willing and able graduates to reflate the security personnel under a special arrangement that will be worked out.
“That way, the funding that is currently deployed to the NYSC can be used with just some additional funding, which could be sourced through a national emergency fund for the next five to 10 years. Those who cannot join the military services can serve in their community without pay if we must still retain the NYSC for everyone.
“To incentivise those who may volunteer to serve, they will have a separate certificate and medal of honour in addition to having priority for military, paramilitary and civil or public service recruitment after service. We also need to encourage investment in the real sectors that can engage people and reduce unemployment, which is a major source of insecurity.”
He added that he has confidence that although things might look helpless, sooner than later, the security situation would see a significant improvement. According to the governor, Nigeria would come out stronger from this moment of national distress.