‘If the NYSC Decree is deleted from the constitution, it will cause a lot of problems’

Abuja – Some Nigerians in Abuja have
expressed mixed feelings on the deleting of
the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)
Decree from the 1999 Constitution.
The development came up in the recent
Senate review and consideration of 33 Bills for
The bills are contained in the report of the
Joint Committee of the National Assembly on
the review of the 1999 Constitution.
In their separate interviews with the News
Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, while some
welcome the development, others expressed
concern on its consequences in the lives of
youths and national development.
Mrs Ene Ede, Gender Advisor, National
Democratic Institute (NDI), said the
development would allow the democratic
process to become more participatory,
inclusive, accessible and responsive to the
needs and aspirations of the people.
Ede also said that it would prevent rigidity
within the domain of parliamentarians who the
citizens were not sure had their common
interest at heart.
“My problem with Nigeria is that sometimes
people can take advantage of lapses in
“Altering the constitution to delete certain
decrees can mean various things. My fear in
this is that, it may be taken advantage of.
“Imagine if someone is not in support of
gender equity and then he decides to suggest
something that is against women, how do you
now balance this.
“We are also suffering from religious and
ethnic bias in this country, so the most
important thing for me is inclusiveness.
“If the process is transparent, inclusive,
accountable, gender sensitive, responsive to
the needs and aspirations of the people and
driven by the people then, it is good,” Ede
Mr Abdulrazak Salawu, the NYSC, FCT
Coordinator, said deleting the decree guiding
the NYSC from the 1999 constitution would
expose the scheme to unnecessary dangers.
Salawu said it was because the NYSC decree
was in the constitution that allowed it to be
sustained through the years, making it grow
and evolve in its activities, including
addressing youth unemployment.
He urged the NASS not to toy with the NYSC
Salawu said altering the constitution would
give room for individuals and groups to ‘toy’
with the mandate and guiding principles of the
scheme which had sustained it.
He said this would also be counterproductive
to the growth, development and process of the
country and youths which the scheme had
tried to support.
“If the NYSC Decree is deleted from the
constitution, it will cause a lot of problems
because we are not easily objective in our
decisions in this country.
“An individual can just choose to be subjective
for his or her own interest. If we do this, we
will be toying with the lives and the future of
the Nigerian youths.
“NYSC is the only youth development
programme set up by the Federal Government
that has been sustained over the years.
“We should not toy with the future of the
youth. NYSC is currently playing pivotal role in
youth development, implementation of
government policies, promotion of inter-tribal
marriages for national integration and unity.
“Everyone is a stakeholder in this scheme
because it involves all and do not forget that
even developed countries and most African
countries are coming to Nigeria indicating
interest in the NYSC.
“Nigeria is a consultant in youth development
for most African countries as they wish to
duplicate NYSC in their various countries, so
we need to be careful with how we handle
“Our doors have been open and continue to be
open for us to engage in Public Private
Partnership (PPP) with individuals, agencies
and organisations interested in youth
“So, all stakeholders are already involved in
the scheme.”
He urged NASS not to ignore the role and
contribution of the NYSC to the growth and
development of Nigeria which may be affected
if the decree guiding and guarding it was
Also, Alhaji Isa Hussaini, a media consultant,
who also welcome development however, said
that the process involved in amending the
constitution, was often cumbersome.
He suggested that before deleting the decree
from the constitution, it should be
strengthened in such a way that no individual,
no matter the position, could alter the law.
According to Hussaini, when the NYSC decree
is deleted from the constitution before it can
be amended, there should be public hearing
involving stakeholders.
“I think having NYSC in the constitution is
good but the world is evolving and things are
changing, we also need to change with the
times and amend the constitution in line with
the dynamic nature of the society.
“I think it is better to remove it from the
constitution and set up an act of parliament to
guide the institution.
“The law should, however, be strengthened in
such a way that no President or individual can
come in to make changes as it suits him or
“The NYSC has really helped parents in terms
of keeping their children engaged, training
them in various skills and providing monthly
stipends for them.
Mr Tony Madaki, a lecturer at the Nassarawa
State Polytechnic, Keffi, urged the NASS to
only amend the relevant section of the
constitution as it affected the NYSC but leave
the scheme in the constitution.
Madaki said this would allow the scheme to
remain protected and relevant to the growth
and development of the youth and the nation.
“The scheme has always been protected by
the constitution and I think this should remain
“For me, I feel that any relevant section of the
constitution that needs amendment should be
amended, but the NYSC decree should be
allowed to remain in the constitution.

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