The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has rejected the new date fixed for the National Youth Service Corps 2016/17 Batch A (Stream II) orientation course, saying it is of a disadvantage to prospective corps members who may be partaking in the Ramadan fast. Prospective corps members of batch A stream II are expected to report to camps across the nation on Monday, 13th June.
In a statement released on Thursday, the group accused the NYSC of discrimination, saying it is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional for NYSC to hold camp at a time when the Muslims will be deprived of their freedom of worship and the liberty to practice their creed without fear.
“We reject this date because Muslim corpers will still be fasting at that time. It is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional for NYSC to hold camp at a time when its Muslim members will be deprived of their freedom of worship and the liberty to practice their creed without fear.
“This planned camp is exclusive, discriminatory and parochial. Official policies in this country often fail to take our cultural and religious plurality into consideration.
“Any Nigerian institution dealing with schedules and programmes particularly the NYSC whose programmes are of such magnitude is expected to consider the dates and periods of important festivals, rituals and religious practices. This should form the core of its logistics.
“It is our humble opinion that NYSC headquarters has failed in its strategic planning by allowing its next camp to clash with the Ramadan period.”
MURIC has therefore, urged the NYSC to reconsider the date as allowing the camp to go on as planned would leave Muslim corps members at a disadvantage, as those observing Ramadan will find it very difficult to adapt to the rigours in camp.
The statement added:
“MURIC is not trying to indulge Muslim youths. Fasting is no joke and it certainly cannot be combined with the physical challenges which characterize the NYSC camp. Eligible Muslim graduates will definitely want to be part of the service but the obstacles standing in their way are gargantuan.
“The clear message we are sending to NYSC officials here is that the camp planned to begin constitutes a serious impediment to the religious observation of Muslims. It is exclusive, sectional and parochial. The planned camp should be put in abeyance for now in the interest of peace. A stitch in time saves nine.
“Muslim youths throughout the country are bitter and furious at the thought of being disallowed to fast in the month of Ramadan. The best which NYSC headquarters can do for Nigeria now is to postpone the camp till the end of Ramadan. This country needs peace and stability to develop. We have had enough religious crises. NYSC should not stoke another.”
After several postponement of the Batch A Stream II, the NYSC in a statement announced the new date for the exercise as June 13 to June 29, saying it was fixed after President Muhammadu Buhari approved and released funds for the scheme.
As at the time of filing this report, no statement has been made the NYSC concerning the call by the Muslim group.