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National Youth Service Corps

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National Youth Service Corps
Formation22 May 1973
FounderYakubu Gowon
TypeGovernment Organisation
PurposeTo foster national unity & cohesion.
HeadquartersAbuja, Nigeria
All Nigerian graduates below the age of thirty
Director General
Yusha'u Dogara Ahmed
NYSC National Headquarters in Abuja
Corp Members During Swearing-in Ceremony at NYSC Orientation Camp

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is a program set up by the Nigerian government during the military regime to involve Nigerian graduates in nation-building and the development of the country. There is no military conscription in Nigeria, but since 1973, graduates of universities and polytechnics have been required to take part in the National Youth Service Corps program for one mandatory year.[1] This is known as national service year. Ahmadu Ali served as the first Director-General of the NYSC until 1975.[2] The incumbent Director-General is Yusha'u Dogara Ahmed.[3]

Major General Suleiman Kazaure was appointed director general of the NYSC on 18 April 2016 and served as the 17th DG of the scheme until his redeployment to the Nigerian Army Resource Centre on 26 April 2019.


NYSC was created on the 22 of May 1973 during the general Yakubu Gowon regime as an avenue for the reconciliation, reconstruction, and rebuilding of the nation after the civil war. It was established based on decree No. 24, which stated that the scheme was created "with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of national unity".[4]


Corps members (participants in the National Youth Service Scheme) are posted to states other than their state of origin, where they are expected to mix with people from different ethnic group, social and family backgrounds, and learn the culture of the indigenes of the location they are posted to. This action aims to foster unity in the country and appreciation of other ethnic groups.

Orientation Camp[edit]

Nigerian youths who are eligible for service are expected to register on the NYSC portal to be called up for service. After registration, eligible youths get their green card and call-up letter, which indicates their state of service. When called up, they are usually referred to as "PCMs" Prospective Corp Members.

The Prospective Corp members are then expected to proceed to their various state of posting for registration and the orientation camp exercise, which is the first phase of the service year.

The "orientation" period is approximately three weeks (21 days) and is spent in a regimented "camp" away from family and friends. The camps are situated across the 36 states of the federation.[5] During the first week of the orientation camp the PCMs are then sworn in and now referred to as Corps members. There is also a "passing out ceremony" at the end of the three weeks orientation camp, after which corp members are posted to their various Place of Primary Assignment (PPA). They are expected to work as full-time staff at their PPA with the exception of one working day devoted to the execution of a community development service popularly called CDS. After eleven months at their PPA, corp member are allowed 3 weeks of vacation before their final passing out ceremony, where they would be issued certificates of completion.[6]

Eligibility for service[edit]

To be eligible to participate in the compulsory one year service, a graduate must be below or not above the age of 30 years upon graduation, or else he/she will be given a Certificate of Exemption, which is also equivalent to the NYSC Discharge Certificate. A graduate who graduated before 30 years but skipped the service year will still be eligible since his graduation certificate was dated before he clocked 30 years of age. NYSC is compulsory in the sense that the graduates of the country can't request an exemption by themselves unless they are disabled, have served in the military or paramilitary for a period of more than one year or are older than 30 when they graduated. Part-time graduates (CEP) are given exemptions since they're not allowed to serve.[7]

Requirements for registration[edit]

Prospective corps members should have a valid and functional email address and Nigerian (GSM) telephone number to register. A correct jamb and matriculation number is also required for locally trained graduates. Foreign-trained prospective corps members should ensure that their institutions are accredited. Also, if they trained in non-English speaking countries, they are expected to translate their certificates to English before uploading. It is also important to note that registrations by proxy are not allowed as every participant would be required to undergo biometrics screening.[8]


Nigerian graduates are ineligible for employment in governmental establishments (and most private establishments) until they have completed the mandatory one-year service or obtained the relevant exemptions. Graduates exempted from the service include those over thirty and those with a physical disability. During the service year, Corps members can acquire new skills and also learn the cultures of the state they serve in.

Objectives of the Program[edit]

The objectives of the National Youth Service Corps Program are enumerated in Decree No.51 of 16 June 1993 as follows:

  • To inculcate discipline in Nigerian youths by instilling in them a tradition of industry at work and of patriotic and loyal service to Nigeria in any situation they may find themselves.
  • To raise the moral tone of the Nigerian youths by allowing them to learn about higher ideals of national achievement, social and cultural improvement
  • To develop in the Nigerian youths the attitudes of mind acquired through shared experience and suitable training. Which will make them more amenable to mobilization in the national interest
  • To enable Nigerian youths to acquire the spirit of self-reliance by encouraging them to develop skills for self-employment
  • To contribute to the accelerated growth of the national economy
  • To develop common ties among the Nigerian youths and promote national unity and integration
  • To remove prejudices, eliminate ignorance, and confirm firsthand the many similarities among Nigerians of all ethnic groups
  • To develop a sense of corporate existence and common destiny of the people of Nigeria.
  • The equitable distribution of members of the service corps and the effective utilization of their skills in the area of national needs
  • That as far as possible, youths are assigned to jobs in States other than their States of origin
  • That such a group of youths assigned to work together is as representative of Nigeria as possible
  • That the Nigerian youths are exposed to the modes of living of the people in different parts of Nigeria
  • That the Nigerian youths are encouraged to eschew religious intolerance by accommodating religious differences
  • That member of the service corps are encouraged to seek, at the end of their one-year national service, career employment all over Nigeria, thus promoting the free movement of labor
  • That employers are induced partly through their experience with members of the service corps to employ, more readily and permanently, qualified Nigerians, irrespective of their States of origin.


The program has been met with criticism from a large portion of the country and complaints from Corps members about their remuneration.[9] A few youth carrying out the NYSC program have been killed in the regions where they were sent due to religious, ethnic or political violence.[10][11]

Besides security issues, many[who?] have questioned the continued importance of the program and have called for a dialogue in this regard.[12] Preemptive measures must be taken to avoid future incidents of violence. The integrity and nobility of the program must be upheld by addressing the aforementioned issues. Recently, there was a call for the NYSC to be scrapped. The bill was sponsored by Hon Awaji-Inombek Abiante, who listed insecurity in the country, the incessant killing of corp members, and the inability of firms to retain corp members after service due to the failing economy as some of the reasons why the NYSC should be scrapped.[13] This call for the scrapping of NYSC has been met with mixed feelings. While some past leaders are against the scrapping of it because its gains outweigh its losses, some Nigerians feel the scheme has lost its use and should be scrapped to avoid endangering the lives of innocent Nigerians to insecurity and unnecessary one-year stress.[14][15]


  1. ^ Marenin, Otwin (1990). "Implementing Deployment Policies in the National Youth Service Corps of Nigeria". Comparative Political Studies. 22 (4). London: SAGE Publishers: 397–436. doi:10.1177/0010414090022004002. S2CID 154677894.
  2. ^ "A Cup of Tea From Yakubu Gowon". AllAfrica. 22 October 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  3. ^ "JUST-IN: Buhari Appoints Dogara As New NYSC DG". www.leadership.ng. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  4. ^ "NYSC - About Scheme". www.nysc.gov.ng. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Addresses of NYSC orientation camps in every state in Nigeria". Classgist.
  6. ^ ALAWIYE, Abeeb (5 March 2020). "NYSC DG to passing out corps members: Set up businesses to save yourselves frustration of searching for scarce jobs". International Centre for Investigative Reporting. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  7. ^ "See wetin Nigeria minister of Youth and Sports tok about NYSC". BBC News Pidgin. 25 May 2021. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  8. ^ "Requirements for Registration/Mobilsation of Corps Members". NYSC Tales.
  9. ^ "Nigeria: 3,283 Corps Members Protest in Kaduna". www.allafrica.com. 4 August 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  10. ^ "Ex-NYSC members, victims of Suleja bomb blast, accuse Jonathan administration of neglect". premiumtimesng.com. 22 January 2013.
  11. ^ "Post Election Violence in Nigeria | URI". www.uri.org. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  12. ^ "What's the point of Nigeria's National Youth Service Corp?". TRUE Africa. 2 October 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  13. ^ Adedapo, Adebiyi (25 May 2021). "Reps To Debate Bill Seeking Scrapping Of NYSC". Leadership News - Nigeria News, Breaking News, Politics and more. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  14. ^ Timothy, Golu (30 May 2021). "[COLUMN] NYSC Must Not Die". Leadership News - Nigeria News, Breaking News, Politics and more. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  15. ^ "Pros and Cons: The arguments for and against scrapping NYSC". TheCable. 27 May 2021. Retrieved 1 June 2021.

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