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1. Why are Nigerian youths being asked to pay to serve their country?
It is not true that corps members are being asked to pay to serve their country. Far
from it. The NYSC and the government appreciate the enormous sacrifice that
corps members have made, and continue to make, for the unity and the development
of this country.
The Scheme will continue to explore ways to ensure that corps
members serve the nation in safety and with ease. This latest initiative was
conceived in that spirit.
Based on feedbacks and requests from past corps
members, the initiative was designed to lessen the costs and risks associated
with corps members travelling to their schools to pick up call-up letters.
It should be
remembered that prospective corps members become the responsibility of NYSC when
they show up in orientation camps, not before.
So, prospective corps members (not NYSC)
have always borne the costs of travelling to get their call-up letters. This
has not changed and no extra burden has been imposed on our prospective corps
members. While those who want to physically pick up their call-up letters from
their schools are still allowed to do so, this initiative has created an extra
option for those who wish to access their call-up letters online.
empowered prospective corps members to make their choice, based on their
situations, preferences and assessments of the opportunity costs involved.
Paying N3,000 to process call-up letters online is a choice for those who prefer
normal. It is not a condition for national service. So, no one is being asked
to pay to serve, as those who do not pay will also undertake their national
service without any form of discrimination or sanction.
2. Why are corps members being forced to pay for their call-up letters?
Paying to process call-up letters online is totally optional.
It is not compulsory. NYSC made it optional because of the realization
that not every corps member will need or can afford it.
As said above, picking up call-up letters from schools have always been and
remains the responsibility of prospective corps members. There are
associated costs and risks to this, which varies for individuals.
The situation of ‘Prospective Corps Member A’ who lives in Lagos and has graduated from a
school in Lagos is definitely different from that of ‘Prospective Corps Member
B’ who lives in Lagos but has graduated from a higher institution in Port
Harcourt or Zaria or Bauchi. The costs and risks involved in going to the
schools to pick call-up letters are clearly different for the two candidates.
NYSC thinks it will be unfair to ask both of them to pay or force them to
embrace the initiative. Apart from giving people the freedom to choose what
suits them, the initiative is deliberately made optional to ensure fairness to
3. Why ask prospective corps members to pay N3000 just to print call-up letters?
The N3000 is not
just for printing call-up letters. It is for the entire package of online
registration, which requires the deployment of IT hardware and software and
personnel to orientation camps all over the country but which also gives those
who subscribe to it the advantage of processing their registration online,
saving time during registration at the orientation camps and allowing them to
use their thumbprints to identify themselves in case they lose or are
dispossessed of their call-up letters.
In the past, corps members who lose or
are dispossessed of their call-up letters had to go through a cumbersome process
of swearing affidavits, getting validation from their schools which takes time
and may force them to enlist on another batch. With online registration, those
who are unfortunate to lose their letters can identify themselves with their
fingerprints. So the N000 fee is for the entire process and package of
4. Is the initiative not extortionist and insensitive?
above, the initiative was designed with all sense of fairness and sensitivity.
It is not extortionist, as extortion implies the use of open or subtle threat.
No open or subtle threat is involved here. It is not compulsory and non-use of
it carries no sanction. It is only for those who choose to exercise the option
after doing their own cost-benefit analysis.
NYSC is sensitive to the fact that not everyone needs or can afford this.
Both those who need and can afford it and those who don’t need it or can’t
afford it are given options to choose from. The initiative is thus both fair and
5. Why not maintain the status quo?
claims, the status quo remains. NYSC has not abolished the practice of
prospective corps members going to their schools to pick call-up letters. That
is still allowed. What has happened is that an extra option has been introduced,
which prospective corps members may choose or may not choose to exercise.
Closing this new option will not necessarily be at zero cost to those who prefer
the status quo, as prospective corps members have always been responsible for
picking their call-up letters. But closing the option will be at the expense of
those who will prefer it as this will rob them of their right to choose
6. If this is so desirable, why can’t government fund the initiative?
familiarity with current trends and feedbacks/requests from past and present
corps members, NYSC is convinced that this is a very desirable initiative in
this digital age and will be to the benefits of corps members. But given
competing needs and shrinking government resources, NYSC realized that it would
be necessary for it to seek alternative sources of funding for its various
Public-Private Partnership (PPP) approach is one of the approved
available options for expanding the pool of resources to the Scheme. We are
exercising this option to jump-start the comprehensive computerization of the
operations of the Scheme. This was done with strict observance of due process
and with appropriate certification/guidance from the Bureau of Public
Procurement (BPP) and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission
The choice before us was between starting the initiative for those who
need and can afford it or waiting for the time government will be able to fund
it fully.We chose the former in the
interest of our prospective corps members who want and choose to avail
themselves of this option.
7. Why can’t the ICT department of NYSC handle this?
The capacity of
the ICT department of the Scheme has been enhanced over time and we will
continue to improve our capacity in line with the needs of the digital age. But
the scale of the operation will demand more personnel than we have at the moment
and the procurement of IT infrastructure in all NYSC camps and all states of the
federation, both of which we don’t have the resources for. Even if the staff
members are there, the infrastructure is not there. That was why we opted for
the PPP arrangement, with the provision that both the knowledge and the
infrastructure will eventually be transferred to NYSC.
8. Will those who refuse to pay not be victimized?
They will not be
victimized in any way. In fact, the plan is to ensure that there will be more
NYSC staff attending to those who choose to use the physical method of
collection because the use of online registration would have freed up staff
time. NYSC has zero-tolerance for victimization and we will take strong
disciplinary action against any staff member who shows such tendency.
9. Is it open to foreign-educated corps members?
Yes, it is open
to them too and for the same amount. The usual practice was for prospective
corps members educated outside the country to come to NYSC Headquarters in Abuja
to process their call-up letters.
Now they can stay wherever they are based and
process their call-up letters online, if they choose to exercise that option.
Also, from Batch A next year, prospective corps members educated outside the
country do not need to come to Abuja for the verification of their certificates.
Their uploaded certificates will be verified at the orientation camps in the
state where they are deployed.