Reps to probe NYSC over handbook containing advice on ransom payment

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The house of representatives has mandated its committee on youth development to investigate the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) over its handbook prompting corps members to prepare ransom in case they are kidnapped.

In a now-viral section of the NYSC handbook titled ‘Security Awareness and Education Handbook for Corps Members and Staff’, the scheme asked corps members to make provision for ransom before plying some roads. It was reported that the NYSC mentioned some of the high-risk roads to include Abuja to Kaduna and Aba to Port Harcourt.The NYSC had subsequently denied giving the advice contained in the handbook, describing it as the “antics of mischief-makers out to ridicule the scheme”.

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Leading a debate on the matter on Tuesday, Ndudi Elumelu, minority leader of the house of representatives, said the development shows a “complete collapse” of the country’s security architecture.“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,” he said.“The 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.

“Further concerned that the provision shows a lack of concern for the safety of corps members as against the provisions of Section 19 of the Public Officers Protection Act which places the welfare and security of corp members on the federal government.“The insertion of such a clause by the NYSC in its security tips manual portrays the inability of the government to provide security on the highways as well as a surrender by the government to kidnappers and bandits.”Contributing to the motion, Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker, said: “If that is from NYSC, it is definitely problematic. But where an institution has come out publicly, not privately — officially denying something; we must all take cognizance of the fact.”The motion was unanimously adopted after it was put to a voice vote by the speaker.

The committee has also been mandated to ensure that adequate measures are put in place to ensure the safety of corps members across the country.

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