The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has described the security tip concerning kidnapping in a handbook issued to members and staff of the National Youth Service Corps and the official denial of the advice by management of the corps as “problematic.”
Gbajabiamila stated that the NYSC lied about its consequent denial of the advice if the Scheme indeed inserted the worrisome sections in its official pamphlet to corpers.
“If that is from NYSC, it is definitely problematic…if it is. But where an institution has come out publicly, not privately, and officially denied something, we must also take cognisance of the fact – which is a problem in this country – about documents, even the Constitution – unfortunately, you find fake (copies of the) Constitution being sold on the streets – and something needs to be done about that”, he said.
Recall that the NYSC, on Page 56 of its handbook titled ‘Security Awareness and Education Handbook For Corps Members and Staff,’ had advised corps members travelling on “high-risk” roads to alert their “family members, friends and colleagues to have someone on hand to pay off the ransom that could be demanded” in case they are kidnapped, listing “Abuja-Kaduna, Abuja-Lokoja-Okene, or Aba-Port Harcourt” roads as such roads.
Also speaking at the plenary on Tuesday, September 28, the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, moved a motion on the matter, titled, ‘Need to Investigate the Alleged Insertion of the Advice for Payment of Ransom into the National Youth Service Corps Pamphlets Containing Security Tips.’
He said, “The House is concerned that 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.”
“The House is disturbed that 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 surrender by the government to kidnappers and bandits.”
Gbajabiamila, however, ruled that the House verifies the authenticity of the handbook, as the House Committee on Youth Development was mandated to do this.