A group of youth corps members, under the aegis of the Union of Covid-19 Corps Members (UCCM), have called on the NYSC to shelve plans to have members return to the orientation camps soon, considering the health risks.
In an open letter obtained by Punocracy and signed by the national secretary, who refused to disclose their name for obvious reasons, UCCM argued that the camps are already serving as isolation centres and will not be safe for habitation anytime soon, especially because of the potential psychological trauma to corps members.
Here is the full content:
The DG NYSC
Yakubu Gowon House
12 June 2020
Dear Amiable DG,
WHY IT IS NOT FEASIBLE TO GO BACK TO CAMP YET: NYSC SHOULDN’T FORCE NOR RUSH CORPS MEMBERS BACK TO CAMP
I have heard in the news that the DG of NYSC met with the DG of NCDC so they can proffer solutions to how corps members will be able to go back to camp and modalities to observe post-pandemic after the inter-state lockdown.
I understand that NYSC has the interest of corp members at heart and they are doing their possible best to see how corps members will stay safe while also finding a way for them to complete their 1 year mandatory National service.
But the truth is that looking at the nature of this pandemic and worrisome daily increase of the carriers, we can’t comfortably be planning to reopen camps. May I bring it to our consciousness that same camps have been used as isolation centres. Some corps members will be allergic to going back there knowing what it has been used for. It will create some level of allergy and psychological stress for some of them.
Looking at the measures NYSC is proposing for the NCDC to adopt, it begs of me to ask these questions.
I hope those measures will include:
- Having about 3 or 4 persons in one hostel room, since our hostels are overcrowded with about 14 persons or more per room.
- Having to stop parade since there will be maximum contact and there won’t be social distancing of sort.
- Having to come to hostels to serve us food rather than the usual method of queuing to receive our food.
- Having to stop church services on Sundays or mosque prayers since it will go against social distancing.
- Having to stop SAED lectures since there will be maximum human contact and no social distancing.
You see, dear corps members, going back to camp without this pandemic finally dying down is not feasible. I don’t see any workable strategy whatsoever. Stay wherever you are and stay safe.
We are all serving Nigeria, likewise our Senators and Reps, same with the Armed Forces and Executives and Judiciary. We are all serving the same Nigeria, so we shouldn’t be treated as if we are less important. We can’t be used as sacrificial lambs.
If there is any parent or ward that will allow their wards to go back to camps that have been used as isolation centres without properly making sure we have defeated the pandemic, mine cannot be in support of that.
If NYSC tries to force us back, we will reject it with all sense of dignity and humility. And we will protest if need be. They can’t be at their respective homes and offices observing social distancing and staying safe, while we go out there and expose ourselves. It is health and life we are talking about here.
Union of Covid-19 Corps Members (UCCM)
National Body for the Health and Welfare of Corps Members,