The National Youth Service Corps, also known as just NYSC, is a one-year mandatory service programme for all Nigerians upon completion of higher education.
The Corps members, or ‘kopa’ (or ‘otondo’) as playfully called, are usually posted randomly to any one of the 36 states in Nigeria, as well as the Federal Capital Territory. There, they serve their country through different jobs assigned, as well as community development services.
They are usually given a controversial monthly stipend of 19,800 naira ($70), which is popularly referred to as ‘allawi’. Some states however pay the corps members an additional stipend ranging from as low as 1,000 naira ($4) to as high as 10,000 naira ($34).
NYSC was created after the Nigerian civil war which left the country in a fragmented state. The purpose of NYSC was to reconstruct and rehabilitate a hurting country.
NYSC was introduced during the administration of General Yakubu Gowon. It was established by decree No.24 on 22nd May 1973 which stated that the “NYSC is being established with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of national unity”.
After completion of an undergraduate course or HND, every Nigerian is mandated to register for the service program using the portal http://portal.nysc.org.ng/nysc2/ . This is usually done using local cyber cafes as the registration requires biometric data such as finger prints which are easily done there. The registration process is free with an optional Green card fee of 3,000 naira ($11).
At least two weeks after registration begins, the prospective corps members travel to their designated state for a three-week orientation course. The orientation course includes guidelines to adapting to the new communities, skills acquisition classes (SAED), Man O’ War drills, fun inter-platoon competitions among others.
Following the end of the orientation course, each corps member is given a posting letter which usually includes a local government in the state where the corps member is posted to, a Place of Primary Assignment (PPA), where their duties will be carried out either as a teacher, health official, government official, and so on.
Although it is mandatory to serve at the designated local government area, some corps members have the opportunity to redeploy to another state or local government. This is usually based on health reasons, marital reasons, etc.
After registration at the designated local government, corps members are given a community development service (CDS) group. The CDS is a scheme directed at giving back to the community in which corps members are serving. CDS meetings are compulsory and hold once a week. Some CDS groups include Charity, Red Cross, Road Safety, Global Goals, Publicity, Dance & Drama, among others.
Corps members are mandated to stay in their designated state all through the service. However, in case of emergency or necessity, a corps member can apply for a temporary leave.
Upon completion of the service program, corps members are given a certificate to testify of having completed the program. The certificate can be used when applying for a job after the service program, as most employers require prospective employees to have completed the program.
For more information on the National Youth Service Corps visit:
Official website: http://www.nysc.gov.ng/