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History of NYSC in Nigeria: When NYSC Started & Purpose

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When did NYSC Start in Nigeria?

NYSC, known as National Youth Service Corps is a Nigerian organization which was established by the Nigerian government to engage fresh Nigerian graduates of tertiary institutions in national development. The NYSC scheme was set up “with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of national unity”.

NYSC infopedia

During the early years after Nigeria gained independence from Great Britain, the country was filled with so much strife and tribal segregation that the Nigerian government of that time sought to foster unity among every Nigerian, starting with the youths through a programme that removed cultural and geographical bias.

After the Nigerian-Biafran civil war, the Federal Military Government, under the leadership of General Yakubu Gowon, set out to rebuild the Nigeria through a programme which was known as the 3R’s- Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation.

How NYSC Started in Nigeria

The programme to rebuild Nigeria, known that time as Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation, which constituted the 3R’s helped set up the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) on August 22, 1973. The scheme was established under Decree no. 24 as a way of meeting those 3R’s goals and to encourage and develop healthy common ties among Nigerian youths while promoting national unity, all aimed at a stronger Nigeria in the nearest future.

The NYSC scheme was established such that graduates of Nigerian tertiary institutions are deployed to a state in Nigeria other than their state of origin or sometimes, their state of residence for a compulsory one year of service to their fatherland. The one year service is usually called National service year. At the start of the national service year, the fresh graduates are sent to a three-week orientation camp with military dispositions, after which they are then posted to their places of primary assignment for the remaining ten months of the national service year.

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Successful completion of the National Service year is recognised with a certificate of national service, known also as NYSC discharge certificate and with this, graduates are eligible for employment in Nigeria.

Eligibility for National Youth Service Corp Scheme

The requirements to meet to be able to participate in the one year compulsory service have been dully stated in the NYSC bye-laws. For instance, a graduate has to be under 30 years below when he or she graduates from the university in order to be qualified to serve. For those  who are thirty years and above, a Certificate of Exemption is given to such persons and this is also equivalent to the official NYSC Discharge Certificate.

Also, a person who before the age of 30 graduated but skipped the NYSC service year, will still be eligible for service at the time the person chooses, even if the person in question is 60 years old, or 50 years of age. This is so because his or her certificate of graduation states that he or she graduated before the age of 30.

The reason why NYSC is very compulsory is that one can;t work in an organization, federal agency without the certificate.

Before anyone can request for exemption by themselves, it must be based on the following condiitions:

  • That he or she suffers from any form of physical disability.
  •  That he or she has dully served the nation in the military or paramilitary for a period of more than one year.
  • If he or she has exceeded the age of 30 years during the time they graduated.
  • If you are a part-time graduates or (CEP), you are automatically eligible to an exclusion letter as you aren’t allowed to serve.
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In Nigeria, most employers aren’t willing to employ those graduates with an exclusion letter. This is so because an exclusion letter is seen as less official to a NYSC Discharge Certificate.

The wordings or lyrics of the NYSC anthem was composed and written by Frederick Nwosu while he was serving at Ibadan. See the lyrics below:

The NYSC Anthem

Youths obey the clarion call
Let us lift our nation high
Under the sun or in the rain
With dedication and selflessness
Nigeria is ours, Nigeria we serve.

Members, take the great salute
Put the Nation first in all
With service and humility
NYSC for the noble youths
Make Nigeria a great nation.

Far and near we come to serve
And to build our fatherland
With oneness and loyalty
NYSC for unity
Hail Nigeria, our great nation

Motto of NYSC

The official motto of the National Youth Service Corp is “Service and Humility”

NYSC Pledge

It is compulsory that every Corp member must sign a copy of both the National  and NYSC pledge which occurs at the swearing-in ceremony event at the orientation camporientation camp.

The penalty for any corp member who don’t sign the National NYSC pledges is trial by the Camp Court. Once he or she is found guilty, can be decamped and excommunicated out of the orientation camp.

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