Coronavirus: Corps members react to suspension of orientation a week after commencement

Mixed reactions from Corps members greeted the abrupt suspension of the ongoing 2020 Batch ‘A’ orientation exercise over the fear of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.

The orientation programme which commenced on 10th, March 2020 was suspended barely 24 hours after the Federal Government (FG) cancelled the National Sports Festival.

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) had on Wednesday morning announced the development saying that Corps members would instead be posted to commence their primary assignments.

It also assured that no Corps Member or Camp Official has contracted the virus.

However, in view of the development, Corps members disclosed that the suspension came rather abruptly leaving some of them stranded in the camps.

A female Corps member deployed to the NYSC Karaye camp, Kano State, who gave her name simply as Bunmi, told Nigerian Tribune that their discharge letters were handed to them on Wednesday and asked to vacate the camp.

“They gave us our discharge letter and we are expected to leave the camp today. It is not convenient because there is no adequate separation. Most of us here are just depressed because there is no money, we don’t even know where we are sleeping yet. Some people came from a long distance, some have even booked their flight for when they will leave camp.

“We have not received the normal allowance but we have been paid our transport allowance,” she said.

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Abayomi, another Male Corps member, deployed to Katsina State, said although the suspension came as a result of a public health emergency, corps members were not prepared for the stress.

“It was not planned for, but I believe there was an emergency. They gave us our discharge letters and asked us to report to our Place of Primary Assignment(PPA).

“We are still at the camp but the local government area we are posted to are making arrangements for buses to convey us. Like I was posted to Funtua LGA here in Katsina,” he told Nigerian Tribune.

Also, Damola who was deployed to the Akwa-Ibom State, said the suspension deprived Corps members the opportunity to participate in the scheme’s Skills Acquisition & Entrepreneurship Development(SAED) Programme.

She said: “Many of us are happy at the development because of no more early morning drills but it is too sudden and the annoying part is that we didn’t do the Skills Acquisition And Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme because we looked forward to that.

“But I think there is more good than bad in the suspension because it is for the safety of all of us.”

On the 1st of March, the scheme had published a rebuttal on the postponement of the 2020 Batch “A” Orientation programme amidst the Coronavirus virus scare, despite confirmation of the country’s index case.

It assured that preventive measures have been put in place in all its 37 camps to guard against the spread of the virus.

It said: “As a proactive action, it has put in place certain preventive measures in the thirty – seven Orientation Camps of the Scheme, in order to guard against the contraction of the highly contagious virus by the Corps Members

“In addition to the above strategy, the NYSC Secretariats had since stepped up the sensitization of serving Corps Members, as well as other Nigerians on things to know about the virus, particularly the preventive measures to be adopted.

“Accordingly, Management wishes to emphatically state that the Orientation Course for the 2020 Batch “A” Corps Members shall hold nationwide as earlier publicised.”

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