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Following the death of three members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) the Senate has raised questions bothering on the relevance of the scheme which was introduced in the 70s.
The decision of the senate came after death of Ifedolapo Amoke Oladepo, Elechi Chiyerom and Ukeme Asuquo who died in Kano, Bayelsa and Zamfara States Orientation Camp respectively.
In a motion moved by the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, the Senate called for the total overhaul of the NYSC – a mandatory national service programme for Nigerian university graduates – adding that the state of orientation camps across the country was unfit for human habitation.
The Senate subsequently resolved and called on the federal government to improve on medical facilities in all Orientation Camps across Nigeria, and to deploy to these medical centres experienced medical personnel.
It also mandated its Committee on Sports and Youth Development to conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of the three corps members in order to guide against future occurrences.
Senator Adeyeye in his motion, had argued that “ The death of corps members are becoming recurrent in almost all NYSC Camps across the country. Experienced medical personnel are practically non-existent in all our Orientation Camps across the country, as fresh doctors who have not garnered any experience are the ones administering treatment…
“Medical facilities at most Orientation Camps leave a lot to be desired as one of the deceased, Ifedolapo, called home five hours to her death and told her older sister, Mrs. Oyeyode Abimbola (a nurse) to start coming to her Kano Orientation Camp, alleging poor care at the NYSC camp.
“An Orientation Camp that houses over three thousand corps members cannot boast of modern facilities to cater for the needs of corps members while undergoing the mandatory Orientation Programme.
“NYSC officials are not up and doing in their official duties, as they expose these corps members to all manner of dangers. I strongly believe that NYSC needs total overhauling particularly its healthcare system.”
In his contribution, Deputy Senate Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, noted that “This is a sad moment for us. What I have heard confirms what I thought was in the realm of speculations. It may not have been intentional, but I think it was an act of irresponsibility. Who will not provide medical attention to a sick person? We look forward to the outcome of the investigation.
“An example should be set. To say the least, this is a barbaric act. This calls for a rethink about the NYSC Act. Is it really worth it to go and die in an orientation camp? Politicians use these same corps members to rig elections and we do not value their lives.”
Adamawa Senator Binta Garba also supported the motion, saying that “From what we have seen, we need to overhaul the NYSC. We need to look into the activities of NYSC.”
President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, in his final remarks, said: “We need to address the issue of health services in orientation camps. This is an issue we should capture in the 2017 budget.”