The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has reacted to claims it withdrew over 100 corps members from participating in Saturday’s elections across three LGAs in Imo state.
On Thursday, Sylvia Agu, the resident electoral commissioner (REC), alleged that corps members deployed to Okigwe, Orlu and Orsu LGAs areas have been withdrawn by the NYSC over security concerns.
But in a statement on Friday by Eddy Megwa, its spokesperson, the NYSC said it only opposed posting of corps members to “flash points” in the state.
The NYSC faulted insinuations that it prevented corps members from taking part in the forthcoming elections, adding that such was “meant to undermine the integrity and image of the scheme”.
“The attention of the management of National Youth Service Corps has been drawn to a misleading information trending online that Corps Members have been withdrawn from participating as adhoc officers in three Local Government Areas of Imo State during tomorrow’s presidential and national assembly elections,” the statement reads.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the existing Memorandum of Understanding between NYSC and INEC on a seamless conduct of elections in Nigeria is still on course.
“NYSC Scheme is in total support of the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in the country. All the trained corps members in every state of the federation are set for the general elections.
“The management of the scheme want to state categorically that corps members are not withdrawn from participating in the elections in some Local Government Areas in Imo State, rather, we are against posting corps members to areas we consider not safe for them owing to insecurity.
“Before now, there are some Local Government Areas in Imo state considered as flash points and therefore, the Scheme cannot allow Corps Members to serve in such areas during the general elections.
“Prior to the 2023 general elections, the Scheme reached out to all Stakeholders to provide enabling environment for the Corps Members to effectively contribute their quota during the general elections, and as such, would not endanger the lives of any of our corps members.
“Consequently, corps members cannot be posted to such flash points to serve as INEC ad hoc staff. We have clearly made our position known to the REC in Imo State.”
‘WE ARE ADDRESSING SECURITY CONCERNS’ — INEC
Speaking on the issue, Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said there are ongoing efforts to address the situation.
“The commission is aware of the situation in Imo state in the south eastern part of the country where it was reported that some of the critical polling unit officials drawn from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) have withdrawn their participation from some Local Government Areas as a result of the perennial insecurity,” he said.
“From the report we received from our State office, concerns have been expressed about the security situation in Osu Local Government Area, five Wards in Okigwe and six in Orlu.
“However, we have been assured that with enough mobilisation of security personnel to the area, it is possible for elections to hold in these locations.
“I have been in touch with the IGP who will brief us on their plans to secure these locations for elections to hold peacefully when he addresses us shortly.”
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