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Is Nigeria Sending its Youth to the Slaughterhouse?

Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) – is a mandatory one-year programme for graduates of tertiary institutions. Completing a year of service with the NYSC is mandated by Nigerian law, with fines or jail time prescribed as punishment for those who fail to do so, although experts told Al Jazeera these penalties are never implemented. As part of the programme, which is a requirement for those who want to work for the government and some other private companies, corps members are posted far from their hometown. The aim is to foster intercommunal unity and peace. In exchange, the corps members receive a monthly stipend from the government. Although some graduates find ways to skip the programme, many working-class Nigerians – whose job prospects are already limited – cannot sacrifice the potential opportunities that come with an NYSC certification. Criticism of the NYSC scheme has come from outside the ranks of members too. Awaji-Inombek Abiante, a lawmaker from Rivers state and a member of the House of Representatives, put forward a bill this year calling for its discontinuation. According to the bill, the NYSC has led to the “incessant killing of innocent corps members in some parts of the country due to banditry, religious extremism and ethnic violence; incessant kidnapping of innocent corps members across the country”.