The National Youth Service Corps has been criticised for its online call-up letter, which requires prospective corps members to pay N4,000 to download a copy.
According to the President of Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, charging a fee to download call-up letters is like defrauding Nigerian graduates.
The NYSC management had earlier defended the fee, saying the online portal was designed to safeguard the lives of intending corps members and to eliminate forgery.
Defending the payment, the Director of Corps Mobilisation in NYSC, Mr. Anthony Ani, had said, “Before orientation, every prospective corps member has to pass through a long process, including travelling to collect call-up letters. Sometimes many corps members have died while travelling to get their call-up letters, and most times, school officials may not be there.
“Coming to camp, you meet long queues during registration, while others bring fake call-up letters. Some prospective corps members change their dates of birth because they want to serve and get discharge certificates. Some institutions are admitting students without passing through the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board and enfolding them into unaccredited courses.”
However, Okei-Odumakin described the step taken by the NYSC as exploitative.
She said, “I believe this is another avenue of exploiting the already pauperised Nigerian youths, who are daily being subjected to all forms of exploitation without recourse to the prevailing economic reality in our society.”
Similarly, a lawyer and social commentator, Olufunke Oluwole, though commending the NYSC’s initiative, said the fee should have been less.
Oluwole said, “No, Nigerian should not be cheated again by a parastatal coming up with get-rich-quick schemes for enriching the pockets of a few. The proposed payment is unacceptable and we should, with one voice, raise a standard against this kind of behaviour rearing its ugly head again.
“I am appalled at the news that the NYSC intends to charge a fee for downloads of call-up letters. It is indeed reminiscent of the Nigeria Immigration Scheme employment saga that resulted in loss of innocent young lives, a few months ago.”
The legal practitioner added that the NYSC directive to prospective corps members “is an obvious failure of the system to understand that its processes and manner of application are a function of its performance and such a burden should not be passed to the beneficiary at any point in time.”