RESPONSE TO NIGERIA'S NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE CORP (NYSC) POSTING OF IGBO AND OTHER SOUTHERN YOUTH-GRADUATES TO AREAS OF ENDEMIC VIOLENCE IN NORTHERN NIGERIA
It is unthinkable that the government of Nigeria should order youth to report for civil “service” in areas in Northern Nigeria wracked by perpetual violence when in fact the government and public both experience and recognize the danger; and the government has admitted publicly that it is unable to curtail, let alone eradicate such violence.
It is extremely cruel and cynical for the government of Nigeria and its agencies to claim a constitutional prerogative in this matter citing the section of what passes for Nigeria’s constitution-of-the-day, when in fact the same document clearly states and implies that the first responsibility of the government is to provide adequate security for the people. It is a responsibility which the government has woefully failed in, and has made no denials about such failure, where in fact it is quite obvious to the world and to the people that this government has not only failed in this duty, but has no way, plans and or will, to do better.
It is especially hypocritical for the Nigerian government or any person to think that the original goal of the NYSC military decree—a decree which was ported into the Nigeria’s subsequent constitutions—was achieved at any time, or would ever be achieved. Such a goal of “national integration” merely served to move masses of youth graduating from universities to serve for slave-labor wherein the areas producing the most graduates suffered most because, by that decree, their graduates could not serve them. When they spent their stipends at their posting area, that, too, amounted to an economic boon for the locality; money obviously denied their own particular areas of origin which had borne the financial brunt of their education. Right from the start, rather than the unachievable goal of national integration for a “country” where it was already known and understood that “there is no basis for unity”, the NYSC edict forced Southern graduates to provide cheap labor for the North, without any parallel benefit for the South, there being comparatively fewer (in orders of magnitude) Northern graduates. The NYSC scheme thus also resulted in the preferential spending of the bulk of the allocated government funds for the program in the North, intended or not. As such, the NYSC was not and is not about national integration.
This was made clear by the well-publicized specific targeting of NYSC members for death and destruction by Muslim Northern youth incited by and rooting for Buhari in Northern Nigeria during the last election, an action which Buhari shows no substantive remorse for, based on the preponderance of his later statements and acts, for which he received the support of his fellow Northerners. Predictably, the same government of Nigeria, now ordering the posting of Southerners NYSC members back to the same areas, has done nothing meaningful and corrective about the killing, maiming and terrorization of the NYSC victims.
We therefore unequivocally condemn the posting, in the face of obvious danger, of Southern youth to the North by the government of Nigeria in the NYSC scheme. In this matter, we accuse the government of Nigeria (and we hope the world and responsible organizations join us in this) of crimes against humanity and of terrorism against the people.
We call on our people to stand up for their rights of survival and right to security against this type of naked insensitivity and wanton cruelty of the government of Nigeria which acts with pernicious impunity against the people. We call on the people to reject all posting to the North and demand and obtain the final and permanent dissolution of the NYSC project: it does not serve the purpose for which it was purportedly rigged up. To this end, we call on the people to prevent the NYSC posting forthwith.
It is up to the people to extract full accountability, responsibility and responsivity from the government; after all, Nigeria claims that it is a government of the people by the people: now is the time to test this claim.
Written By Biafra Foundation