The National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, has cleared the air over reports quoting the Director-General of the scheme, Brig.Gen Shuaibu Ibrahim, as saying that youth corps members could be mobilised for war.
Ibrahim was quoted as saying on Thursday in an interview on Channels TV that corps members were part of the national defence policy of Nigeria and could be mobilised for war if need be.
His words: “Corps members are on reserve. They are part of the national defence policy of this country. So, where there is serious war, our corps members are educated, they are knowledgeable and they can be trained. You see the drill and so on.
“You can imagine within the short three weeks in the orientation camps, the corps members are moulded. They are like soldiers. You see female corps members blowing the army horn, playing with the military band.
“So, if not for the knowledge, where are you going to mobilise such young Nigerians to train them quickly to put in their best for the country? So, corps members are on reserve. They are also part of the national defence policy.”
But in a swift reaction reaction late Thursday night, after the remarks generated reactions from Nigerians on social media, NYSC said “This is to clarify the misrepresentation of the NYSC Director-General’s recent interview with the media currently trending on the social media.
“The Director-General had stated that in line with the National Defence Policy, Corps Members are like soldiers on reserve, because their education, exposure and sophistication, can make them easily adaptable to military training.
“He charged them to remain focused and patriotic; and for the spirit of NYSC to live in all Nigerians.
“General Ibrahim never at any point said that Corps Members are being mobilised to fight war.
“The Scheme shall continue to safeguard the interest of Corps Members at all times,”