To get the Nigerian youth involved in the development of the nation, the government established a program called NYSC. This is a one-year program that allows Nigerian graduates to mix with their peers, experience cultures and people different from their own, build discipline and tolerance towards other tribes, contribute to the development of the country and help out the masses while earning a stipend per month (around N33,000). The program is done every year and lasts a whole year. The NYSC Discharge Certificate obtained at the end of the program is what will make you eligible for jobs in Nigeria.
What is NYSC
NYSC stands for National Youth Service Corps and is a year of National Service compulsory for every Nigerian graduate (apart from a few exceptions).
The program was set up during the military regime of Yakubu Gowon on 22 May 1973, and since then graduates of universities and later polytechnics have been required to take part in the national service. The main purpose of the organization is to encourage youth involvement in nation-building, foster national unity and cohesion, and as an avenue for the reconstruction of the nation after the civil war of 1967.
The first Director-General of the organization was Ahmadu Ali who served till 1975. Currently, Yusha’u Gogara Ahmed serves as the Director-General of the NYSC. The headquarters of the Corps is located in the capital Abuja.
NYSC is compulsory for all Nigerian graduates with a few exceptions. Without the NYSC Discharge Certificate, you can not apply for jobs in Nigeria.
Those exempt from participating in the NYSC will be issued a Certificate of Exemption, which is equivalent to the NYSC Discharge Certificate. The only people exempt are:
- Those older than 30 at the time of graduation. However, if you graduate before the age of 30 but did not apply for service until you were over 30, NYSC is still mandatory for you.
- Part-time graduates (CEP).
- Disabled people.
- Those who have served in the military or paramilitary for a period exceeding one year.
How to register for NYSC
Once you’ve completed your tertiary education and become a certified graduate, it’s time to serve the country. To do this you must register online, preferably in a local cyber cafe. Though convenient, you should never use a proxy, make sure to register yourself.
Before you begin registration, ensure that your name is on the senate list, which is a list containing the list of graduates qualified for the NYSC program for a particular batch or stream issued by your institution. To register, follow the steps below:
- Obtain all the requirements you need to register including a functional email address, a Nigerian phone number, and a correct JAMB matriculation number for Nigerian-trained graduates. For foreign-trained graduates, provide certificates from accredited schools abroad (if the certificate is in a foreign language, translate it to English), a secondary leaving certificate and an international passport. A scanned passport photograph and medical certificate are also required.
- Visit the NYSC registration portal at nysc.gov.ng
- Initiate your account creation process by clicking on the ‘Mobilization’ button.
- Enter and confirm your email address and add a secret question.
- A confirmation email will be sent to you. Click the link and then ‘Resume’ to continue.
- In the subsequent processes, you will need to fill in several fields with the appropriate information, including country of origin, the institution of study, JAMB registration number, matrix number, programme, password, phone number, full name, date of birth and date of graduation.
- After submitting the required information, you will proceed to the four-step process by clicking ‘Continue’.
- Step 1: You will need to fill in your biodata. This is where you will upload your pa and sports, fill in your data (gender, name, title, place of birth, address, marital status, etc), health details, next of kin, and contact in case of emergency and death. Then click on “Save and Continue” to move on to the next step.
- Step 2: Fill out information about the institutions you attended. Then click on “Save and Continue”.
- Step 3: Fill in other details including military personnel, paramilitary, and national award honour. You will also need to fill in the Nigerian languages you speak and places in Nigeria you have visited, kit specifications (the sizes for shirt, trousers, and canvas), and upload your signature. Then click on “Save and Continue”.
- Step 4: Select your centre and upload the all required documents. Click on “Preview” to continue.
- A preview page where all your registration details will be displayed. Check and ensure that all the information provided is accurate, then click on the “I Agree” box.
- Click on “Submit” to complete the process.
The NYSC form is free of charge but you will have to pay around N2,500 for your Call-up number. If you do not want to pay this fee, you can go to your school to collect your call-up numbers and call-up letters. You only have to pay this fee once, even if you were not deployed the first time, you will not have to pay the fee again on subsequent registration. Cyber cafes will also charge you for using their services and the price will depend on the cyber cafe.
If you are not satisfied with your state of deployment and would like to change, follow the steps below:
- Write a letter of request requesting to change your PPA.
- If you would like to change to your husband’s state of deployment, you must apply with your marriage certificate, newspaper publication for a change of name, a letter from your husband’s employer, and your husband’s means of identification.
How NYSC posting work
For NYSC, graduates are posted to states other than their state of origin and the state of their school to mix with people of other ethnic groups and foster unity, tolerance and appreciation for other ethnic groups.
At the beginning of the service, there is an “orientation” of approximately three weeks spent in one of the camps situated across the 36 States. At the end of the camp, there is a “passing out ceremony”, after which corps members are posted to their Primary Place of Assignment (PPA).
The orientation courses start with a swearing-in/opening ceremony which will be presided over by the executive governor of the state/FCT minister (if in FCT). Then there will be an oath of Allegiance and the National Pledge presided over by the Chief Judge of the State/FCT. In the camp, corps members will have to wake up at the early hours of the day, and go through physical training and drills. There will also be lectures on the people and traditions of their state of deployment and professional lectures for health personnel, lawyers, and teachers among the corps members. Skill acquisition training will also be administered.
There will also be social activities that will be organized to help create opportunities for corps members to interact. The corps members will also participate in inter-platoon competitions in various sports including football, table tennis, cooking, volleyball and sanitation.
After the orientation, corp members will be posted to their primary place of assignment where they will be spending the rest of their time in the NYSC. Where the corp members will depend on their areas of specialization, however, emphasis will be placed on the Agricultural, Health, Education and Infrastructure sectors in rural areas.
In their PPAs, corps members are expected to work full-time for 11 months except for one working day set aside for the execution of Community Deployment Service (CDS). There is a vacation for one month after 11 months at the PPA, before the final passing out ceremony where the corps members will be issued certificates of completion.
Community Service Deployment (CDS)
During the NYSC, corp members are expected to get involved in projects that will help better the lives of their host communities. The needs of their host community will first be identified, and then the members of the community will be mobilized to embark on projects that will address those needs. This may include constructing bridges, marketplaces, health centresnters, classroom blocks, etc, and also carrying out programs like road safety campaigns, HIV sensitization, adult literacy campaign, etc.
Finally, after corps members have completed their primary assignment, they are gathered in their respective zones for debriefing and assessment of the service year. This is done at the end of the service year and is the period when the corps members submit their final clearance letters from their employers to their Zonal/Local Government Inspectors.
Various programs are organized for this ceremony, including parade rehearsals. Outstanding corps members during the service year will be given State Honors Awards.
NYSC is the perfect avenue to expose Nigerian youth to aspects of the country they are not familiar with. This will encourage diversity and build love towards every Nigerian regardless of tribe and language. However, there are several controversies regarding NYSC, the most prominent of which is the security threats. Many corps members have been killed in their places of deployment due to some cultural and political disputes. There have also been complaints about the time ‘wasted’ during the NYSC. A whole year is spent in the NYSC, which the graduate could have spent doing something else, not to mention the extra wasted time for graduates who fail to be deployed their first time.