I recently read an opinion article online stating that those doing their youth service should be made to undergo military training, especially in gun handling, and when there is an insurgency or war in the country, such youths should be drafted to fight alongside the regular soldiers. The believe of the writer is that ‘graduate’ reservists will be more tactical on the war front, and as a result, there will be less loss of lives as we experienced while the Boko haram insurgency was at its peak.
The writer of the article cited the case of Israel, where there are regular soldiers, as well as reservists, who are civilians but have had military training, and whenever there is war, they are called up for military service. Apart from Israel, there are also other Western countries practising this military system.
However, I totally want to disagree with the writer of this article that this cannot work in Nigeria for certain reasons.
First, the countries that have reservists are countries with small populations, and when there is a huge war on their hands, they call-up their reservists to join the war. Nigeria has a huge population, and as such, we can maintain a huge military, so there is no need to call up reserve soldiers during war.
Secondly, those countries that use this type of military arrangement have good economies; in the last Israeli war against the Palestinians, I was surprised that some of the reservists were medical doctors, teachers, nurses, and even businessmen, and after the war, they return to their civilian life.
This cannot be said about Nigeria where there is huge unemployment crisis; at the moment, highly-educated unemployed youths are responsible for more than half of the crimes being perpetrated in the country.
So if our youths are now trained to handle guns like soldiers, then it would make it easier for them to start armed robbery ‘business’ as soon as they finish their service year and could not get jobs.
- Festus Idoko,