In recent years, there have been calls for the Nigerian government to scrap the National Youth Service Corp programme because it has outlived its usefulness.
The clamour has become even louder following the rising level of insecurity and cases of kidnapping, especially in parts of the North. Just a few hours ago, another blow was dealt to the scheme following a report that a 29-years old newly mobilized youth corper was kidnapped in Zamfara State by armed bandits.
In this report, I will analyse how the corper was kidnapped and what are her chances of regaining freedom soon.
Armed Bandits, dressed in Army uniform attacked the vehicle she was travelling in and dragged her into the forest
According to Peoples Gazette, Iorliam Jennifer Awashima, the 29-year-old graduate of Benue State University was on her way to Kebbi, through Zamfara, for youth service when suddenly armed bandits, dressed in Army uniform, attacked the vehicle she was traveling in and took her, alongside eight others away into the forest.
At first sight, the driver of the bus thought they were military men, so he stopped to attend to them. But as soon as he realized they were bandits he fled into the bush leaving behind his passengers at the mercy of the criminals. There is yet to be any report about the demand for a ransom payment, but it is expected that the bandits will soon demand it.
Unfortunately, this represents a major attack on the educational institution in Nigeria, and in particular, it undermines the quest for the girl child to seek an education in a bid to enhance the prospect of her future. Because of incidences like this many families, especially in the Northern Nigerian have refused to educate their daughters.
Nobody can say for sure if Ms Awashima and the others will make it out of the kidnappers’ den alive. But even if she does, it will come at a huge financial cost to her family. More so, it could leave a major psychological dent on her, such that she may not be able to shake it off.
This case of kidnapping is another challenge for the government to rise to the occasion to solve the problem of insecurity in Nigeria. The bandits, no matter how well armed they are cannot be greater than the Nigerian military might, so why is it taking so long for the government to solve this problem.
President Buhari should not hesitate to use the newly acquired Tucano jets to attack the strongholds of the criminal gangs.
But in the meantime, until government find a lasting solution to the banditry there is a need to stop posting youth corpers to volatile areas in the country. Or better still, the programme can be scrapped for the moment until the country becomes safer.
No matter how important the NYSC is, it cannot be equated to the lives of our young people.
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