By; ABDULL-AZEEZ AHMED KADIR, Kaduna.
A cross section of National Youth Service Corps, NYSC Members posted to Kaduna State, especially those from the southern part of the country said they were shocked by the treatment being meted out to them in comparison to what they have read and heard about the North before their deployment to Kaduna.
Speaking to New Nigerian Newspapers after their oath taking ceremony at the on-going orientation exercise at Black Gold camp, Abuja-Kaduna Highway, some the Corps Members said they almost redeployed or even deferred their service year due to the fear of the unknown but were shocked to their marrow on arriving to an overwhelming reception by other Corps Members of Northern extraction and camp officials.
Most of them who pleaded for anonymity because they were not allowed to speak to journalists said their impression of the North before their coming were that of thatched mud buildings, roaming cattle, rampaging insurgents who killed at will and of people not receptive of visitors. But with less than a week in the camp, and their encounters with others people of the region while travelling down, it has more than changed their initial impression and fear of the region.
“When I got to Kaduna city centre on my way from Enugu and before reaching the camp, along a popular and busy road called Ahmadu Bello Way, I though I was in Aba or Onitsha when I heard my people speaking Igbo and transacting business. What surprised me the more is the ease with which they speak Hausa language and relate with the people” one of the Corps Members said. He added that from Abuja Junction to the NYSC Camp, a commercial driver refused to collect fares from them when they identified themselves as prospective Corps Members. That he said is rarity that baffled him.
Another said she met a woman who happened to be from her village but was speaking fluently that she doubted her origin until she told her of her family and compound in their village. She, like the first Corps Member said a driver who took them to the camp, noticing that they were going for orientation, refused to pick any other passenger but all prospective Corps Members. She said initially she was scared, but on getting to the Camp, the driver refused to collect their money having taken them to the gate of the Camp. “And to say he is a Muslim and a northerner who even told us that he is Fulani” he said in awe.
Meanwhile, the state government has assured the Corps Members of the security of their lives and property asserting that operatives have been put on alert to safeguard them anywhere they are going to serve in the state.
Warning Ministries, Department and Agencies of the state government not to reject any Corps Members posted to them at the end of the 21-day orientation course, the Governor Nasir Ahmad El-rufai represented at the oath taking ceremony at permanent camp, km 16, Kaduna-Abuja express way, assured of providing enabling environment for them to serve the nation diligently.
Declaring the 2016 batch ‘B’ Stream II orientation course open shortly after the swearing-in of 2,160 the Corps Members deployed to the state by Justice Mairo Muhammed, El-Rufai said, his government is committed to security of both new and existing Corps Members serving in the state.
Represented by the Commissioner for Sport and Youth Development, Daniel Dan-Auta, the governor said, ”the state government will continue to provide the enabling environment for you to discharge your duties and serve the nation delligently here in Kaduna. I want to assure you that security of lives and property of all citizens in our dear state remain the top priority of my administration.
“Our security undertaking and measures are holistic. We are more concern about their security and we are watchful at all places they may be posted. Their security, safety and convenience to deliver their service are guaranteed.
“The security apparatuses have been put on alert across the state considering the fact that most of them are coming to this environment for the first time which means security eye must be doubled on them”.
The State Coordinator of NYSC, Bello Ballama reiterated the commitment of the scheme and willingness to cooperate with the state government in rendering services to the the good people of Kaduna State in whatever capacity it is called upon to serve.
He urged Corps Members to participate in the mandatory Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme which he said was specifically designed to empower them and reduce the rate of unemployment and in the country.
The Orientation of undergoing a face-lift with structures being retouched and other facilities being put in place for the comfort of the Corps Members.
By; ABDULL-AZEEZ AHMED KADIR, Kaduna.