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Looting Of Nysc Camps; Other National / Individual Assets: Time  for A National Youth Volunteers Corps Under Nysc To Be Set Up-: Says Huriwa 

By Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA)
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Gentlemen and ladies of the forth estate of the realm , We are here to strongly condemn the widespread and incessant looting, organised and highly ochestrated arson and attacks by Some Misguided societal elements masquerading as youths searching for Covid-19 hoarded palliatives to loot NYSC Camps and other strategic National and private assets of Nigeria and Nigerians.

These brazen acts of criminality in the case of the Targeting of NYSC’s facilities which constitutes gross National sabotage demanding the stiffest judicial sanctions for offenders have come with many revelations that Government needs to investigate within the shortest possible timeframe to save Nigeria.

Besides, the Looting and devastating invasions of NYSC camps which also resulted in fatalities, has made it imperative for the president, His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari ( GCFR) to activate the intendments, signufucance and pragmatic essence enshrined in the following sections of the constitution in the section 220 ( 1) (2)

Stating as follows: "1) The Federation shall establish and maintain adequate facilities for carrying into effect any Act of the National Assembly providing for compulsory military training or military service for citizens of Nigeria.

2) Until an Act of the National Assembly is made in that behalf the President may maintain adequate facilities in any secondary or post-secondary educational institution in Nigeria for giving military training in any such institution which desires to have the training."

We humbly ask Mr President and the National Assembly to amend the relevant laws of NYSC to empower the scheme to begin the trainings for vetted and credible youths in military trainings to form a standing National volunteer Corp and for these citizens to be draw from the states to be mobilized at all times to resiliently partner with law enforcement agencies under the auspices of the office of the DG of NYSC who is a serving officer of The Nigerian Army to be rapidly deployed to carry out volunteer works of defending strategic National Assets so these kinds of ugly and lawless scenarios will never occur. This should follow the pattern of Israeli government. It shoyld be a revolving scheme lasting one calendar year just like same period with the NYSC SCHEMES WHICH IS AS RELEVANT AS EVER AND DEMANDS NATIONAL FUNDING CONSOLIDATION.

These volunteers can also be encouraged to enlist into the Army on the passing out parafe after working for MOTHERLAND FOR A YEAR and to explore other regular policing or para military institutions on permanent basis and this will save the cost of recruitment process of such agencies as NPF, NPS, NCS, and the national Civil Defence Corp after a year of purely voluntary service to the Nation: This we think is an idea whose time has come.

The protests should teach the political leaders of Nigeria that the sovereign and territorial integrity of Nigeria is endangered if the youths are economically deprived and not carried along as strategic Nation building partners with the relevant government agencies. WE HAVE NEGLECTED THE YOUTHS MINISTRY AT FEDERAL AND STATE LEVELS FOR LONG. NOW IS THE TIME TO REVITALIZE AND FUND THE YOUTH SECTOR INCLUDING CONSTANT SPORTING ENGAGEMENT FOR YOUNG NIGERIANS ON STATE BY STATE, LOCAL GOVERNMENT BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT BASIS. MINISTRT OF YOUTH NOW HAS A COMPETENT MINISTER WILLING TO WORK AND HE MUST BE ECONOMICALLY EMPOWERED TO IMPLEMENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES TO ENGAGE YOUNG NIGERIANS.

The federal ministry of youths development and NYSC should be put as FIRST line charge such as the judiciary and the National Human Rights Commission and their budgetary releases boosted significantly to enable this forward looking Management of NYSC and the competent youths affairs minister to empower millions of young Nigerians.

The attacks targeting NYSC, Minister of FCT and Assets of certain individuals especially in cross River state must not be swept behind the carpet.

Government needs to investigate the intelligence that a certain senator funded the armed hoodlums to attack peaceful protesters which must have aggravated the scenarios and led to many deaths.

Government should investigate the police hierarchy. We suspect that the police hierarchy and beneficiaries of SARS are behind the coordinated attacks of warehouses. Certain criminal thugs may have been hired as agents provocateurs to attack warehouses to entice hungry and angry youths to join them in the looting sprees so as to dilute the essence, symbolism, significance of these global movements against Nigerian police use of torture and extrajudicial killing of Citizens by SARS.

- The FCTA procured palliative food items comprising rice, semovita, gari, beans, maggi, sugar, salt, vegetable oil, tomato paste.

- All items were procured and distributed in a very transparent manner with the active participation of CSOs and the ICPC, following the go-ahead of the BPP.

- Individuals and corporate organisations donated items that were distributed as they come in a transparent manner, using a door-to-door implementation strategy that was adopted.

- The FCTA had exhausted all procured and donated palliative items in its care before the widespread looting.

- Palliatives were distributed to the 6 Area Councils in FCT, following the flag-off exercise by the HMS, in April 2020. The FCTA reached more than a million households in the territory with palliative food items.

- The items that were looted at the Gwagwalada Warehouse on Monday, October 26, 2020, belong to CACOVID (a group of Nigerian businesspersons and corporate organisations that goes by Coalition Against COVID-19, under its food distribution programme). The items were only formally handed over to the FCTA on Monday, 12th October, 2020, a week into the nationwide ENDSARS protests.

- CACOVID Palliatives were scheduled for distribution before the End Sars protests began to turn violent last week. The CACOVID team had insisted on having beneficiaries’ list that was to be jointly reviewed by it and the FCTA, and the process was stalled because of the endsars protests. A Committee that was earlier inaugurated to make the arrangements and to monitor distribution of the items, was forced to put every plan on hold.

- The Area 10 Arts and Culture Centre and Kubwa NYSC Camp Storages are empty of all palliative food items. Because Kubwa warehouse had no security presence, the hoodlums went in, met it empty and left.

- The FCTA had to stop the hoodlums from accessing the Arts and Culture Centre to avoid vandalisation of government properties, banks, offices and other government facilities in the Secretariat.

- Some of the items looted include relief items donated by NEMA for FCT flood victims, which distribution was about to commence following the enumeration of beneficiaries and determination of the extent of damage.

- Kwali Area Council had received part of the relief items, Abaji Area Council was supposed to be next before the END SARS protests.

- Vandalisation of the FCTA warehouses in Gwagwa, Tungan Maje and Kwali led to the loss of fertilisers and agrochemicals meant for sale in readiness for dry season farming. Also lost to the looters and vandals is the buffer stock of grains already flagged off for sales at 50% discount price, to FCT residents. The purchase and sale of buffer stocks is a yearly global practice of keeping grain reserves for off-season sales to reduce prices in the market. Governments usually buy off farmers during bumper harvest to grant them reasonable income and then resell to citizens at 50% discount when the grains are off-season and scarce. Some FCT residents had already paid for the looted grains, and were to collect them on Monday, 26th October.

- Other facilities that were looted and vandalised include the National Emergency Management Agency warehouse in Jabi and several private industrial warehouses in the Idu Industrial estate.

*COMRADE EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO:
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).

OCTOBER 28TH 2020.