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Nigeria: NYSC Clarifies Two-Time Deployment of Undercover Reporter

The National Youth Service Corps Scheme, NYSC, has explained the trending report of an undercover reporter who was successfully deployed for the compulsory one-year programme in November 2023, five years after he was mobilised for same programme in 2018.

The NYSC Director of Press and Public Relations, Eddy Megwa while speaking on a Channels Television programme, explained that the undercover reporter leveraged on the NYSC’s lack of database for graduates of the scheme, to land a successful mobilisation without raising eyebrows.

Recall that the reporter had detailed how his first attempt was rejected by the system because it was familiar with the details entered. However, on a second trial, he used an alternate phone number and email which the system promptly accepted.

Mr. Megwa said NYSC was working to fix the lapses, to ensure that such does not repeat in the future.

NYSC Director of Press and Public Relations, Eddy Megwa

His words:

“It is not that we don’t have checks and balances in place to detect possible breaches of the system. When the undercover reporter first put in his data, the system rejected him because he had served in the scheme before.

“He later changed his email address and his phone number which made the system to accept him. And he was initially posted to Osun State.

“He did that because he was out for a particular purpose. We are looking at the situation and ensure that it does not happen again.

“We don’t have a database of graduates to serve in the scheme.

“We only rely on the lists sent to us by the Senates of the various universities, stating the number of graduates to expect from them,” he explained.

Megwa however, failed to explain why the scheme failed to detect the reporter’s other details, including National Identification Numbe (NIN), which was incorporated into the scheme three years ago.

Reacting to a question how the scheme’s acceptability of certificates bagged in foreign institutions, Megwa spelt out that prospective corps members, not their certificates, are usually assessed thoroughly to ascertain whether they are qualified to serve.

”It is not our duty to assess their certificates, but we have resorted to inviting foreign students and giving them test to know their abilities.

”In the course of doing that, we have made startling discoveries. Ask some of them to write a simple essay, you will be surprised at what you get.

I have some of such materials that I can show you. NYSC is an elite scheme, not for illiterates and the means of communication is English Language.

“In 2006, the then DG of NYSC, Brig.- Gen. Yusuf Momoh, went to an orientation camp and asked a supposed corps member the title of his final project, the answer he gave was incredulous and further investigation revealed that his name was smuggled into the list of graduates from a particular university,” he explained.

The Public Affairs Director revealed that the scheme was working in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education, Foreign Affairs Ministry and other relevant agencies to track the academic journey of people who go to foreign institutions to study.

News Central reported that Daily Nigerian undercover reporter, Umar Audu shared a detailed report of how he obtained a degree certificate from a Cotonou university in Benin Republic under two months. Following the report, the Federal Government of Nigeria moved to suspend accreditation of degree certificates from neigbouring Benin and Togo.

The Government’s decision was received with mixed reactions as many supported, and many kicked against it.

Undercover reporter, Umar Audu back in NYSC camp for a second experience after outsmarting the scheme’s System.

NANS appeals for a reconsideration

The President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in the Republic of Benin, Okechukwu Favour urged the Government to have a rethink on the decision taken. Okechukwu explained that the ban would likely leave over 15,000 Nigerians studying in the affected countries hanging.

 “We have over 15,000 Nigerians studying in that country alone. The ban will affect legitimate students who are at various levels of their studies. We are not saying the government should not punish anybody who has engaged in criminal acts, but it is not in all the universities that such a thing is happening.

“Also, it is not all the students that are involved in such terrible acts. While one agrees that the undercover reporter has helped to expose some misdeeds, he also breached certain conventions in the process. Our appeal is that let the guilty ones be punished, spare the innocent,” he said.

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