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“Nigeria’s new eagles are released into the country thrice a year”
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“Nigeria’s new eagles are released into the country thrice a year”

Ever since the 1967-1970 civil war, young graduates in Nigeria have been required to undertake national service. Commonwealth Correspondent Ayodeji Morakinyo offers an account of his orientation into the training programme.

Let us lift our nation high; Under the sun or in the rain; With dedication and selflessness; Nigeria’s ours, Nigeria we serve.

Those words make up the first verse of the anthem of the National Youth Service Corps.

The programme, which first began in 1973, was mandated by the federal government as a compulsory exercise for all graduates of tertiary institutions who, upon graduation, are still below age 30.

Apart from being too old, the only other possible exemption from NYSC service is if you are already a member of the police force, military or any other service-related establishment answerable to the Nigerian government.

On July 5, graduates gathered at camps across Nigeria’s 36 states, as well as the federal capital territory (FCT), to undergo NYSC orientation. This phase, which was initiated with the registration of qualified graduates into the camps, lasted for three weeks. By 26 July all camp activities were officially closed. To be registered you had to have successfully completed study and also received approval from the federal government.

The orientation process involved education workshops and military training. Participants were told by NYSC officials about the history and importance of the programme, its code of conduct and security tips. Members of the Nigerian Army meanwhile instilled discipline and parade skills into them.

In addition, some representatives of the Man ‘O’ War paramilitary society were present to organise endurance trekking, physical exercises and assault and obstacle training for willing corps members.

During the 3-week programme, several organisations – both governmental and non-governmental – appeared to train and enlighten volunteer corps members about issues such as HIV/AIDS, skills acquisition, the Millennium Developmental Goals, corruption, road safety, and crisis management.

The Director-General of the NYSC, Brigadier General M.I. Tsiger, visited the camps around the country to congratulate members of the corps. An increase in the allowance award to corp members – from 9,750 naira to 19,800 naira – was well appreciated by all corps members because it will boost their welfare. The Brigadier General added that one of the prime goals of his administration is to ensure that a 50,000 naira proposed allowance for corps members is approved by the federal government.

On 26 July, the new corps members heard where they would be posted – their Places of Primary Assignment (PPAs). They received their letters of posting on 26 July to mixed reactions. For some, the letter revealed a favoured placement, and their faces were marked by signs of joy. Others were either angry or sad.

Within minutes, the telecoms network was abuzz as virtually all corps members attempted to reach their family and friends with the news. Later, many were seen in cities across the country finding their way to their various PPAs, newly equipped with their training.

Now it is time for them to go and serve their father’s land as a national duty. These new eagles are released into the country thrice a year. Nigeria will again see corps members enter their communities.

But the hope of the federal government remains the same: that the objectives of the NYSC programme will be achieved through energetic and talented youths who have emerged from all around the country.

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Ayodeji’s Profile:

“I am an animated and artistic writer hailing from the southwest region of Nigeria. I hold a degree in electronics and electrical engineering and am certified as an IT professional.

“On days when I am not busy with engineering and management activities, I write prose poems, short stories and journalistic commentaries. In the coming years, I hope to help other people’s lives around the world and aid in the reformation of Africa.”

More here: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/list-of-contributorscorrespondents/

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/


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