The National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) which was established on 22nd May, 1973 by General Yakubu Gowon for the purpose of nation-building and national unity has become a shadow of itself and seen as a compulsory evil by many prospective corps members particularly due to the appalling state of various orientation camps across the country.
Despite the steady increase in funding of the scheme by the federal and various state governments with over N70,000,000,000 (Seventy Billion Naira) pumped into the scheme in 2018, this has yielded no positive impact in the facilities in most orientation camps with regards to the living conditions of corps members who are subjected to unimaginable trauma especially as it concerns meals and convenience.
With N500 per meal budgeted for each corps member amounting to over N3,272,103,431 (Three Billion Two Hundred and Seventy Two Million One Hundred and Three thousand Four Hundred and Thirty One Naira) for 21 days one would have expected that the quality of meals served at the orientation camps would be of standard, howbeit, this is not the case as they are either tasteless and poorly prepared allegedly because NYSC camp directors and other officials embezzle the funds released for this purpose or sometimes sell these food items and a larger part of the animal slaughtered for cooking to traders at the popular “mammy market” in the camp.
Furthermore, it was revealed that the toilet facilities in various orientation camps are allegedly an eyesore as they are either non-existent or are in very bad shape. This according to reports has made both male and female corps members resort to bathing outside at the wee hours of the night or early hours of the day while those who could not secure water early enough before the bugle is sounded are left with no option than to bath outside during the day.
More so, due to the appalling state of the toilets in these camps, corps members are greeted with the rude shock of having to practice the popular “short put” method (open defecation) because of the fear of contracting toilet infections if they eventually use the general littered and unkept toilets.
Insider sources also revealed that NYSC officials, as well as other security officials attached to most orientation camps allegedly also practice the “short put” method as the toilet facilities available to them, are also in a deplorable state with many forced to lodge in hotels away from the camp.
Due to the lucrative nature of the operations of orientation camps across the country, it has become an opportunity for most NYSC officials to embezzle funds without any searchlight beamed on them by the relevant anti-graft agencies as it is alleged that the officials lobby to be in charge of departments like food, production of kits, allocation of space to traders in Mammy market and in most cases also collect money from corps members who would like to relocate or to be posted to place of primary assignments (PPA) within the capital cities or juicy establishments.
Over the years, there have been calls from various quarters that the scheme should be scrapped and the money allocated for it be given to graduates as soft loans to start a business or a total overhaul should be carried out in order for a more robust scheme to be birthed which will fully execute the primary purpose for which it was established.