(By Bakare AbdulAziz Olatunde)
“At this point, I felt this can no longer continue. Why should I have to pay with my future for the negligence, omission and oversight of NYSC despite paying the required N4000 and complying with all necessary condition? Why would NYSC decide to painfully halt my progression and render me useless knowing the fact that no one would employ me yet while my colleagues are mobilised neither can I apply for Post-graduate studies in any University in Nigeria without having served? Why do I have to go through this harrowing experience to get mobilised? Why should I have to go through unimaginable pressure and trauma to serve my country?“
Dear Director-general sir,
I greet you with the best of greetings and with a hope that you see this. Ordinarily, I should not have taken this course to write an open letter to you using this medium but when several entreaties made at reaching your office and that of the NYSC has failed and knowing fully that the NYSC Batch C mobilisation closes next week, I am left with no other option than to employ any means necessary to get your attention in a bid to resolve the log jam, trauma, stress, agony and anxiety your agency has caused me for the past 3 weeks.
I have been on this NYSC issue for 3 weeks now trying to find a solution. I have been to the NYSC Lagos State Office in Surulere to complain; I have sent emails, tweeted at the official handle of NYSC (@nysc_ng) on twitter and called your agency’s numerous help-lines all to no avail. Every of the official I met at your Lagos office kept directing me to NYSC office in Abuja. They practically claimed to know nothing about mobilisation and call-up number and they refused to accept a letter to your office asking me to take the letter to Abuja myself. Sir, at this junction, I have no other choice than to write this open letter to your esteemed person and office for immediate and necessary action and I apologise ahead if this does not go down well sir.
I studied LAW and graduated from the Lagos State University in the year 2013 and thereafter proceeded to the Nigerian Law School for my mandatory professional training. This ultimately was the reason why I could not meet up with the Batch B in August 2014, even though I was officially posted to Katsina State.
Upon the conclusion of my studies at the Law School, I returned to Lagos in time (latter part of August) to register my interest in the November NYSC Batch C in my school (Lagos State University hereinafter referred to as LASU). I also proceeded to register ON-LINE in line with the directives of the NYSC on September 10 and I paid the required N4000 on September 11. (I have copies of these documents with me and will produce upon demand). To further confirm my registration I received sms and an email from the NYSC on September 22 CONFIRMING that my application has been received and was being processed.
The confirmation I received from the NYSC and my prints-out gave me the assurance that I have fulfilled the obligations necessary for my mobilisation. I went home to rest and I was expecting my call-up number from the NYSC via email as that was the reason for paying the N4000 in the first place.
One (1) month after payment of N4000 and registration, I became increasingly worried that I was yet to receive call-up number. This was more evident when colleagues who paid the N4000 had begun receiving theirs. I decided to keep my cool because I felt the NYSC was sending it in stages. However, I could no longer stomach the issue and felt I needed to rise up to the occasion when a friend who paid the required N4000 got her call-up number almost immediately.
I immediately swung into action trying to contact the NYSC. I went to the CONTACT US portal on the NYSC website and tried all the phone numbers there, all were switched-off. I also sent emails to the following email addresses I came across on the NYSC Website …email@example.com ,firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com . In the emails I sent to the earlier mentioned email addresses, I explained the issues therein and sought for support and help to get it resolved.
To my surprise, I did not get an acknowledgement of my email neither was my issue being attended to. At this point, I became very worried and I began to ask friends for NYSC contact phone numbers. One of my friends eventually got me a number 08065688891 and asked me to call and explain my concerns. I did call the number and I spoke to a man whom I explained everything to. He listened very patiently and afterwards asked me to hold one while he ran a background check on my name and Matric number (080411061). After 10minutes, he got back to me by saying my school didn’t mobilise me for NYSC. I was quite furious because I did not owe Lagos State University (LASU) anything and I did everything required of me to make sure I was mobilised.
I immediately proceeded to Student Affairs Department of my school to enquire why I was not mobilised for NYSC despite fulfilling all requirements laid down by the Senate of the school. I met the officials and I explained to them. They were surprised to hear me tell them that I was told by an official of the NYSC that I was not mobilised. I was directed to go and check the notice board in front of the Student Affairs to see if my name is included in the Remobilisation list they pasted, I did check and my name was there right on Page 16 number 96.
I went back to them at the Student Affairs and I told them my name was there. Apparently trying to make it clear that the fault was not from LASU, the LASU officials sat me down and brought out the 38 pages Master list of the names of eligible graduates originally sent to the NYSC for Batch ‘C’. Yet again, my name was on page 16 number 96. With this, LASU insisted that they mobilised me and my name was included in the list forwarded to the NYSC and that if there is any problem, it has to come from the NYSC and not them.
Armed with this revelation, I called the 08065688891 and this time I spoke to a lady and explained everything to her. The lady who kept posting me asked me to call back after 10minutes which I did. Again she asked me to call back after another 10minutes which I again did. On my third attempt, she said she could not attend to me and that I should call again the following day. When I called the following day, the lady asked me not to disturb her again.
On getting home, I again sent an email to the above email addresses explaining the new revelation to them but still. I got no reply.
The final straw came in when I was informed that my school has pasted a list of the call-up numbers received from the NYSC and my name was not included. I went there and confirmed it to be true. At this point, I was faced with the stark reality that I may not participate in the upcoming NYSC exercise and this is too bitter for me to swallow. As a Lawyer who understands the importance of time in a career, I cannot accept to be professionally useless for the next six month due to no fault of mine. I have my career plans well laid out with NYSC fully incorporated into it. Failure to get mobilised for this set will truncate and throw irreparable spanners into my future plans and the effect may destabilize me.
Again, I was reliably informed that NYSC sent a list to my school asking them to correct the data and resend back to them so they can mobilise and prepare their call up numbers. I immediately rushed to school and stayed with them until my name was included and ensured my data was correct. The Student Affairs even placed a call to NYSC on my behalf and in my presence to specifically complain that my name was sent in the master list of the School Senate (Page 16, No. 96) and that I was not given a call-up number. The NYSC official (on phone) directed that my school should include me in the new list, which they did.
With this, we thought everything was settled and I was told to expect the call-up number by Monday, 20thOctober, 2014. Monday came and to my greatest surprise, NYSC sent call-up number to everyone on the corrected list and YET again, omitted me. I was enraged and I contacted the school immediately. I was told by the Student Affairs that NYSC said it was an omission/oversight and that I will be mobilised for the next batch in March, 2015. Again, I called the NYSC official and explained my predicament to him. In a rather astonishing tone, the NYSC official told me to “shut-up and stop disturbing him because I paid N4000”. He asked me to go and learn a trade instead and slammed the phone on me. I thought this was very unprofessional, degrading and insulting.
At this point, I felt this can no longer continue. Why should I have to pay with my future for the negligence, omission and oversight of NYSC despite paying the required N4000 and complying with all necessary condition? Why would NYSC decide to painfully halt my progression and render me useless knowing the fact that no one would employ me yet while my colleagues are mobilised neither can I apply for Post-graduate studies in any University in Nigeria without having served? Why do I have to go through this harrowing experience to get mobilised? Why should I have to go through unimaginable pressure and trauma to serve my country? Despite the fact that LASU correctly mobilised me (twice), why has the NYSC officials in charge of mobilisation refuse to process my data? Why am I told to face the ignominy of seeing ALL my colleagues get mobilised and I am left out for no cogent reason only to be told by some unruly NYSC staffs to go and learn a trade?
At a crucial time when majority of Nigerians are fast losing hope in governmental agencies as a result of inefficiency and lack of seriousness. NYSC in my opinion should be the last of such agency to erode public confidence. Sir, I listened to you when you organised a live twitter session with Mr. Japhet Omojuwa on this issue of N4000 and Online registration. You made it clear that everyone who complies with the requirement and instructions will be mobilised. I did not only comply with ALL instructions as set out by the NYSC, I ensured I complied as far back as September 11th, 2014, why I should be singled out for labrat analysis out of thousands of students who did not even pay the N4000 is beyond comprehension. I am quite sure this would not have happened had the NYSC maintained the tradition instead of using the future of thousands of students to test run a facility that has not been perfected. I write for myself but with the deep knowledge that there are hundreds of student who may have resigned their fate as there is nothing they can do. However, with due respect sir, such fate I cannot accept.
Sir, I have employed all peaceful means necessary to resolve this and I am aware there are just few days left to close the NYSC BATCH C mobilisation exercise. I urge you to please use your good office to get your agency to do the needful and suspend the agony and trauma your agency has made me go through for the past three (3) weeks. While, I am not bothered by the insult I have received from the NYSC officials I called on phone, I just want my data processed and my call-up number given so I can fully focus on serving my country alongside my colleagues.
With due respect sir, failure to get a positive response within forty-eight (48) hours, I will have no other option than to instruct my Lawyers to immediately commence a legal action against your agency for discrimination, victimisation, exploitation and obtaining money by false pretence. Whilst I will also pen a petition to the National Assembly and all relevant agencies including the Presidency.
I have no interest in dragging NYSC through anything neither do I desire any attempt to rubbish the good name and your sincere effort aimed at repositioning the NYSC. However, I cannot accept that I will be jobless for the next six (6) months despite having complied with all instructions as laid out by the NYSC.
As the last hope of the common man, I will be left with no choice than to seek redress in the court of Law if no positive response is given by the NYSC.
Thank you in the hope of a positive response sir.
I salute your sense of administration.
BAKARE ABDULAZIZ OLATUNDE (@Backarray)
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