From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has warned high institutions of learning against offering postgraduate admission to serving corps members.
NYSC management equally cautioned employers of labour against issuing permanent employment to serving corps members, warning that it will soon start to prosecute defaulters.
Delivering keynote address at the opening ceremony of a sensitisation workshop on NYSC Act in Abuja, the Director-General, Brigadier General Shuaibu, urged Corps Mobilising Institutions not to delay in sending forward their qualified graduates for national service upon graduation.
Represented by the Director ICT, Mrs Christy Uba, the scheme also revealed that it is currently prosecuting six cases at various courts on violation of human right on the scheme’s compulsory dress code.
Speaking earlier, the NYSC Director Legal, Abdullahi Tijani, said: “We have challenges of some high institutions admitting serving corps members. It is very wrong against the NYSC Act. Another one is a situation where employers of Labour give appointment to serving corps members. We need to sensitize the employers against engaging serving corps members.”
In his address, the DG said: “The challenges, which in most cases negatively impact on the operations of the scheme including stakeholders’ obligations on the scheme as well as cases of non-compliance with regulations on mobilization and exemption from service.
“As part of our resolve to ensure that the provisions of the Act are followed to the letter, the NYSC has concluded arrangements for the prosecution of offenders as provided for, in the NYSC Act. I therefore urge all Nigerians to familiarise themselves with the NYSC Act so as to understand better, the operations of the scheme and its objectives.
“Let me appeal to Corps Producing Institutions (CPIs) not to fail in sending forward their qualified graduates for national service upon graduation as delay in presenting them can lead to their disenfranchisement.
“This is because the affected persons could cross the age limit of 30 years as provided for in the Act. These delays are usually caused by the inability of the institutions to conclude necessary clearance and mobilisation processes that leave the affected graduates waiting longer than necessary before being mobilised.
“This, however, is against the provisions of the NYSC Act, particularly Section 2 Subsection 1 of the Act which provides that every Nigerian shall be under an obligation, unless exempted under Section 2 Subsection 2 of the Act or Section 17 of the Act, to make available for service for a continuous period of one year from the date specified in the Call-up instrument served upon him.
“Subsection 2 of the same Section also states further that notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection 1 of the Section, with effect from August 1985, a person shall not be called upon to serve in the Service Corps if at the date of graduation or obtaining his diploma or other professional qualification(s) or he is over the age of 30 years.
“Similarly, attempts by unqualified persons to so participate in service have also been frowned at by the NYSC Act.
For the benefit of doubt, the consequences of aiding and abetting attempts by unqualified persons to enlist in the Service Corps are dire, as provided in Section 13 Subsection 3 of the Act.
“The Section prescribes a penalty of three years imprisonment or a fine or both, against any person who fails to comply with or contravenes any of its provisions.
“The NYSC Act has also placed specific responsibilities to all stakeholders of the scheme. For instance, the provision of essential facilities such as security and general welfare of Corps members are all vested with States and Local Governments and other members of the host community.
“I therefore urge all and sundry to get acquinted with the Act while also cooperating with the scheme in achieving its mandate, especially in rural areas.
“I call on all Nigerian graduates both home and abroad to familiarise themselves with the relevant provisions of the Act so as to avoid infractions that may adversely affect them now or in the future.
“I wish to appreciate our resource persons for not only honoring our invitation but also sharing their time and effort by carrying out thorough research on topics of discussion in this workshop,” he said.