Reps probe NYSC over ransom advice to corps members

The House of Representatives has ordered an investigation into the alleged suggestion by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), that corps members keep family members prepared for ransom payment, in case they get kidnapped, especially when traveling along some roads in Nigeria.

The said suggesting was contained in a security tips pamphlet reportedly issued to prospective corps members by the NYSC, a matter which went viral especially, on social media. “When travelling on high risks roads such as Abuja-Kaduna, Abuja-Lokoja-Okene or Aba-Port Harcourt roads, then alert your family members, friends and colleagues, in order to have someone on hand to pay off the ransom that could be demanded”, the said controversial tip read.

However, the House on Tuesday, while adopting a motion on the “Need to Investigate the Alleged Insertion of the Advice for Payment of Ransom into the National Youth Service Corps Pamphlets Containing Security Tips”, sponsored by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, the House mandated its Committee on Youth Development to investigate the insertion of item 65(e) in the pamphlet.

Elumelu recalled that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was created on 22 May 1973 as an avenue for reconciliation, reconstruction and rebuilding of the nation after the civil war, but expressed worries that “In the last few days, reports have surfaced with picture evidence of an embarrassing provision under section 65(e) of the NYSC security tips pamphlet, advising Corps Members to tell their families to make ransoms available in case they are kidnapped on the road”.

According to the lawmaker, “inclusion of the said section shows a complete collapse in the architectural system of the country’s security forces and a major worry for friends and family as to why their children should be allowed to participate in this compulsory exercise”.

In response, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, however reminded Elumelu that the NYSC denied the said advice. “I thought NYSC denied it”, he said.

But Elumelu insisted and produced a copy of the pamphlet, saying “I am aware that NYSC denied it but Mr. Speaker, I have before me the pamphlet. This is the pamphlet they are using everywhere”, he said and read out the controversial lines”.

Though Gbajabiamila expressed fears over the possible existence of other versions of the pamphlet in circulation, the motion was unanimously adopted by members.