The National Youth Service Corps Scheme, NYSC, has explained how an undercover reporter, who had earlier been mobilised for the compulsory one-year programme in 2019 was mobilised for the same programme in 2023.
Speaking on a Channels Television programme on Thursday, the Director of Public Affairs, NYSC, Mr Eddy Megwa, said the reporter changed his email address and phone number to be drafted again into the scheme.
“It is not that we don’t have checks and balances in place to detect possible breaches of the system. When the undercover reporter first put in his data, the system rejected him because he had served in the scheme before. He later changed his email address and his phone number which made the system to accept him. And he was initially posted to Osun State.
“He did that because he was out for a particular purpose. We are looking at the situation and ensure that it does not happen again. We don’t have a database of graduates to serve in the scheme. We only rely on the lists sent to us by the Senates of the various universities, stating the number of graduates to expect from them,” he said.
Though Megwa said the use of the National Identification Number, NIN, was incorporated into the scheme three years ago, he was unable to explain why the differences in the reporter’s biodata in NIN and what the reporter put in for his second mobilisation were not enough to raise a flag for the scheme to detect him.
Asked what step the scheme takes to ascertain whether people with foreign certificates are qualified to take part in the scheme, Megwa said, ” It is not our duty to assess their certificates, but we have resorted to inviting foreign students and giving them test to know their abilities.
” In the course of doing that, we have made startling discoveries. Ask some of them to write a simple essay, you will be surprised at what you get. I have some of such materials that I can show you. NYSC is an elite scheme, not for illiterates and the means of communication is English Language. In 2006, the then DG of NYSC, Brig.- Gen. Yusuf Momoh, went to an orientation camp and asked a supposed corps member the title of his final project, the answer he gave was incredulous and further investigation revealed that his name was smuggled into the list of graduates from a particular university.”
Megwa added that the scheme was collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Education, Foreign Affairs Ministry and other agencies to track people going for foreign studies and when they come back with their certificates.
Meanwhile, the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, in the Republic of Benin, Okechukwu Favour, has appealed to the Federal Government to have a rethink on the blanket ban on certificates and degrees from higher institutions in that country.
Favour, who also appeared on the television show, said the fate of over 15,000 Nigerian students in Benin Republic is hanging in the balance.
“We have over 15,000 Nigerians studying in that country alone. The ban will affect legitimate students who are at various levels of their studies. We are not saying the government should not punish anybody who has engaged in criminal acts, but it is not in all the universities that such a thing is happening.
“Also, it is not all the students that are involved in such terrible acts. While one agrees that the undercover reporter has helped to expose some misdeeds, he also breached certain conventions in the process. Our appeal is that let the guilty ones be punished, spare the innocent, ” he stated.
Recall that the Federal Government has slammed a ban on graduates from some foreign universities following the expose by a reporter that he was able to get a degree from a university in Benin Republic within six weeks and was even mobilised for the NYSC one year programme.
The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, SAN, said a committee has been set up to appraise the whole system of accrediting foreign universities and assessing their certificates