Does holding a political office substitute for participation in the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program?
The minister of communication, Adebayo Shittu, who dodged the NYSC is claiming that he is exempted because he won election into the state house of assembly. However, the NYSC disagrees.
“You have read the Act and you can see the circumstances where someone is exempted, you analyse it if he [Shittu] was exempted duly or there is a reason why he should have served. But the Act is very straightforward on the grounds for not coming up to serve,” said the spokesperson of the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC), Adenike Adeyemi in an interview with Tribune newspaper.
“If you are a graduate locally trained or foreign trained, as long as you graduate before the age of 30, you are expected to serve. Whether foreign or locally trained, the law is the same. Our youths should be rightly guided that if you were able to complete your studies and as of the date of graduation, you are under 30, you are eligible to serve,” she said.
Section 2 of the NYSC Act allows exemptions for only four categories of people. Those who graduated after their 30th birthday, those who served in the military or the police for at least nine months as well as staff of intelligence agencies. Also exempted are those conferred with national honours before graduation.
Adeyemi said “the NYSC was set up to mobilise all eligible Nigerian youths. The Act does not talk about VIPs or children of VIPs. Anyone who is a Nigerian youth, who has a first degree and under the age of 30 must serve, the issue of VIPs or their children does not apply.
“However, if there is any reason why a corps member needs a concession, the corps member applies and concession is given, for example, for marital reasons and on health grounds. Everyone is treated the same and where concessions are to be given, it is treated. So, VIPs or children of VIPs do not come into the Act and we do not look at that.”