National Open University Barred From Participating In NYSC

Abdulrazaq O Hamzat

Let me begin by asking a
question, is it right to bar some citizens from
serving the nation without the basis of
law? I think not, but as it stands, graduates of
the first of its kind National Open University
of Nigeria has been officially barred or
excluded from serving our father land.

This should be a source of concern to all meaning Nigerians.
After the end of the Civil War, the leadership
of the country thought of a way to re-unite the
country in an effort to bridge the fracture
caused by the civil war, and after much
deliberation, the National Youth Service
Corp was given birth to.

According to SECTION 1
of the NYSC decree, it states that, there is
hereby established a scheme to be known as
the National Youth Service corps (in this
Decree referred to as “the Service Corps” . The
decree states that, the objectives of the service
corps shall be:

• 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 giving them the opportunity to learn
about higher ideals of national achievements, 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 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

• to remove prejudices, eliminate ignorance-and
confirm at first hand the many similarities among
Nigerians of all ethnic groups

• to develop a sense of corporate existence and
common destiny of the people of Nigeria In
order to achieve the objectives in this decree, the service corps shall ensure:

that the Nigerian youths are exposed to the
modes of living of the people in different parts
of Nigeria o that the Nigerian youths are encouraged to eschew religious intolerance by
accommodating religious differences. The above are the reason for the establishment of

However, it was a surprise that today, the
same NYSC which was founded to bridge divide has now resorted to discrimination without
basis. This is against the principle of the scheme.

Going through the NYSC decree, those qualified to
participate in scheme were well spelt out.
SECTION 2 of the decree states that: Subject to
the provisions of this Decree, every Nigerian

• if, at the end of the academic year 1972-73
or, as the case may be, at the end of any
subsequent academic year, he shall have graduated at any university in Nigeria ( ANY UNIVERSITY IN NIGERIA) Since this law has not been changed or the decree amended, it is
a gross offense and flagrant disobedience of
the laws of our land to exclude Open University graduates from the NYSC.

Here we can see that, nothing in this decree
indicate that students from Open University
are not qualified, it only informed us of the purpose of this scheme which is to build
capacity of the Nigerian youths and imbibe the
culture of national service, tolerance and accommodation in them.

However, rather than admit graduates of Open
University into the NYSC scheme to serve their
fatherland, the National Youth Service Corps governing council without any basis, continue to exclude the first of its kind institution. They designate Open university as excluded, and the graduates are given what they call, exclusion certificate to indicate that they have been officially excluded from serving our nation. This is a grave injustice.

Let me note that, this exclusion certificate was
alien to the NYSC Act.
What the act recognize is exemption certificate, but only some categories of people are
qualified for the exemption. Exemption certificate is different from Exclusion certificate. According to
amended NYSC act:
Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this act, with effect from 1st August, 1985, a person shall not be called upon to serve
in the service corps if;
at the date of his graduation or obtaining
his diploma or other professional qualification

– • He is over the age of

• He has served in the armed forces of the
Federation or the Nigeria Police Force for a period
of more than nine months.

• He has been conferred with any National

• He is member of staff of any of the following,
that is:
i. the Nigerian Security
ii. the State Security Service
iii. the National Intelligence Agency
iv. the Defence Intelligence Service As we can see in the above, these are the only categories of
people that are qualified for NYSC exemption
certificate, nothing like exclusion certificate was
ever mentioned in the NYSC act, but because
the governing council of the NYSC are bent on
denying our institution equal rights of
participation for reasons best known to them,
they introduced what they call exclusion,
which they dumped on the faces of distinguish NOUN graduates. It is quite disappointing
that, after 4 years of academic grinding, plus
hard work in an institution with no equal, where you have obtained the best of knowledge under a
properly guided system devoid of any form of
examination Mal- practices, what you get is discrimination from some government

It is important to note that, Open University is a federal university, accredited by the same National University Commission which accredited other
institutions in the country. For no reason should her graduate be sidelined,as this would discourage prospective students from enrolling in the
institution,thus defeating the purpose for which it was created. We have seen all over the world that
graduates of Open Universities are accorded front seat roll, they are seen as people who deserve first class treatment.

Nigeria shouldn’t ignorantly relegate this noble institution and its distinguish graduates,
they cannot be relegated. Many students from this
university feel pained when they see other
graduates in the youth corps uniform moving
about their places of assignment.

They wish that one day, it would be them in those
uniforms, holding their head high in service to
their fatherland, but this dream seems to be
under threat, as graduates after graduates, the
discrimination yet continues. I therefore call on those in authority to desist from this discrimination, failure of which the
students would be forced to drag the NYSC to court for legal redress.

Finally, we are aware that the president have
the power to resolve this issues without
further delay, as the NYSC act states that, the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed
Forces may, by Order published it, the Gazette,
extend the application of the provisions of subsection (1) of this section to other categories of Nigerians who shall have obtained such diplomas, certificates or other qualifications as may “be prescribed in the Order from universities,
colleges and other institutions of higher
learning within or outside Nigeria, and the
Order may specify different dates for call-
up in relation to different categories of
those affected or to be affected by the Order.

Therefore, the president should as a matter of
urgency, intervene to correct this unjustifiable
exclusion of Open university graduates from National Youth Service.

Abdulrazaq O Hamzat
Congress of Noun

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