NYSC Camp: An Experience Money can’t Buy
By Lawan Bukar Maigana
I arrived in Abuja on November 20th 2021 to spend a couple of days with different categories of people whom I never communicated with in my quest to foster unity, peace, and tolerance among people from different angles of the country. We need that to end the recurring security challenges that are bedeviling the country which include Boko Haram extremism, banditry, secessionists’ threats and so on.
I traveled all the way from Maiduguri, where I was born and raised to come to my beloved country’s capital to contribute my quota in peacebuilding by meeting various colleagues from various institutions of learning to share experiences about our cultures, values, norms, strengths, and weaknesses.
Peace is not easily gotten and to get it one has to work for it. So I did. My journey from Kano to Kaduna was a near suicide mission because I followed the dangerous Kaduna-Abuja road that had recently claimed many innocent lives due to incessant cases of banditry and kidnapping.
Upon arrival at the gate of the Kubwa NYSC Orientation Camp, Abuja, I saw a congregation of security men sitting and working collaboratively to ensure the safety of prospective corps members who come from various states across Nigeria to serve their fatherland. I was greeted with a question “where are your call-up letters, registration slip, and COVID-19 test letter?” I presented them and I was subsequently, thoroughly searched before I went into the camp where I saw a beautiful, committed staff of different organizations that were working tirelessly for the betterment of corps members. No one enters the camp without taking a COVID-19 test. I had the test and tested negative before I entered the camp.
The orientation at the Kubwa NYSC camp started on November 26th, 2021. What a life to wish to live all the time! Nigeria has all it takes to build herself if only they will provide us with the necessary resources and enabling environment to thrive . My life has completely changed. I met with different people from different states of Nigeria whom I never communicated with but I’ve started missing them even before the orientation finishes on December 14th, 2021. Honestly, I commend the security men on duty and all other government officials working at the camp. I was given a hostel with the name ‘Loyalty’, given kits, and my platoon number.
A surprising evening at the camp I had was full of good news. I was informed by my colleagues that there is delicious food for us every day from morning to evening. That gladdened me a lot and I had personally taken my time to compare the food at the Mami market at the camp and the food provided by the government and I have observed that the food provided by the government is by far more delicious than the available food in the camp. However, some corps members prefer to buy food and eat because of reasons known to them. Perhaps, they want to show their colleagues that they are “big girls and boys”. Every prospective corp member gets bread, butter, and tea as breakfast, jollof rice and chicken as lunch, white yam, porridge, and fried fish as dinner This arrangement is not constant because there are changes every day. Corps members get other food such as Amala/tuwon massara, ogbono/okro/beef, boiled egg, rice/stew/beans/beef, and akara/pap. Honestly, everyone will miss these services.
The camp’s toilets are good and clean and there is sustainable water supply and the rates of the water are so nice that everyone will like to drink it forever. That’s is a great achievement for our country.
Those who do their youth service at home will miss a lot of experience that they are supposed to get now in their lives as growing patriotic Nigerians, in whose hands the country’s future lies. Honestly, there are many things to learn from each other at the camp. You can make good friends, meet different characters from different states, and many good things.
Lawan Bukar Maigana is a graduate of mass Comm, University of Maiduguri and writes from abuja
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