Reps step down bill to exempt Nigerians schooling abroad from NYSC - Naijarecent
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Reps step down bill to exempt Nigerians schooling abroad from NYSC

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A bill seeking to amend the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC Act and make provision for the issuance of the exemption certificate to foreign Nigerian students while reviewing the remuneration upwards was stepped down at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Tilted “Bill for an Act to Amend the National Youth Service Corps Act, Cap. N84 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Review Upward the Accommodation and Transport Allowances of Corps Members in line with Current realities; and for Related Matters (HBs.716, 1305, 1657, 1922, 1945 &1674), it was however a consolidated bill jointly sponsored by Hon. Ben Igbakpa, Hon. Eta Mbora, Hon. Abbas Adigun, and three other lawmakers.

In his lead debate, Igbakpa who was the only one present at the plenary to speak on the bill said that with the changing times, the principal act should be amended to make it optional for Nigerians who schooled abroad.

Igbakpa who referenced the case of former finance minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun said it was not necessary to have subjected her to the rigours of obtaining the exemption certificate.

He also said that the monetary allowance of the serving corps members should be elevated to reflect that of graduates.

He said: “This amendment seeks to cure three different things because the law as it is today; because of the changing realities of time, anybody that had passed the university and is serving as a corps member automatically has acquired a degree and it is the belief that this amendment should reflect in their remuneration because the N30,000 given to them as it is today is a minimum wage threshold and in line with the present reality, it would not be fair if they are given something that befits a graduate, a level 8 Officer in the public service.

“The third, as at the time the law was made, it was in such a way that we did not consider our children schooling abroad. Not long ago, a former Minister of Finance schooled abroad, was above thirty and came to Nigeria to help with the knowledge. But because of the stringent condition placed on the acquisition of the certificate of exception, there was something wrong at the end of the day. We lost that intelligence and expertise. When the NYSC law was created, Nigerians studying abroad were not considered. Nigerians schooling abroad should be issued a certificate of exemption.”

The bill however elicited several reactions from lawmakers with many opposing the exemption while favouring the upward review of the allowance.

In his contribution, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Idris Wase called for strict adherence to the provisions of the principal act.

“Those who schooled abroad should comply with the by-laws we have set in the country. In several countries, we have programs like this. In USA, you have to serve compulsorily in the army for a year. The purpose is integration and discipline”, he said.

Also speaking, Hon. Ahmed Jaha agreed on the call to review the renumeration aspect of the Bill however disagreed with the exemption.

H”Substantial part of graduates recognize the importance of NYSC because, by the time they go out, they will discover a lot of things. They have not been conversant with in their area. So, if you say it is optional, people may think it is not serious. They would make it optional and they would be reluctant to go but if you make it compulsory, definitely, everybody would go and at least, discover something outside his domain”, he said.

Amid the debate, the lead sponsor, Igbakpa opted to step it down for further consultation.

Ruling on the Bill, the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila advised the Rules and Business Committee to take a holistic look at the bill and expunged the offensive parts to enable the sponsors to represent it before the House adjourned this Thursday for a two-week break to participate in the national elections.

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