Two Members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), 2019 Batch C Stream 1 undergoing orientation exercise at MacGregor, Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State have been decamped for refusing to wear trousers.
It was alleged that the corps members said it was against their faith to wear trouser.
The Public Relations Officer of NYSC Ebonyi Command, Ngozi Ukwuoma in a statement said the two Corps Members are Okafor Love Obianuju with State code number EB/19C/0523 and Odji Oritsetsolaye, EB/19C/0530.
Ngozi explained that the corps members were seen by the Camp Director, Mrs. Isu Josephine and her team during her routine morning inspection, wearing a white T-shirt upon a white skirt.
“When they were accosted and interrogated, they disclosed that they could not wear the white shorts and the trousers given to them by the NYSC since it was against their faith.”
“Efforts were however made by the office of the Camp Director to make them see the reason why they must obey the rules and regulations guiding the orientation and NYSC, but all efforts to do that proved futile”, the statement said
The statement further explained that after efforts to convince them on the reasons why they should be on trousers were rebuffed, the matter was officially reported and the proceedings for de-kitting them were initiated.
“The Corps Members were queried and subsequently made to face the camp court, where they were found guilty, having made it categorically clear that they were ready to bear the consequences of their actions.”
Mrs. Ukwuoma noted that the court recommendations were submitted to the camp Management and the Camp Director was directed to de-kit the Corps Members.
“They were de-kitted in the presence of security agents, who also escorted them to the gate as they left the camp”, the spokesman added.
Meanwhile, NYSC on Monday gave further clarifications on the de-camping of two Corps Members in Ebonyi State were evicted from the Orientation Camp in the state.
The State Coordinator, Mrs. Ann Ibe told newsmen that the NYSC followed due process in de-kiting the Corps Members.
According to her, the Corps Members were queried for flouting Schedule 1 Article 3 (b) (ix) of the NYSC Bye-Laws 1993.
The article she cited according to investigation deals with the code of conduct of Corps Members especially as it has to do with mode of dressing.
A copy of the bye-laws obtained by this newspapers clearly states in Schedule 1 Article 3 that ‘every member shall observe the following code of conduct during the period for which the code relates.
It further goes on to state in (b) (ix) that during the orientation, every member shall wear the various uniforms provided for activities.
She further said that the bye-laws also stipulated punishment for offenders in schedule 2 article 1(I) (a).
The said schedule 2 article (I) (a) states that ‘failure to wear the uniform provided for any particular activity, the Corps Member should be informed to go and wear the uniform, failing which he will be decamped’.
Mrs. Ibe said the Corps members were de-kitted in line with the recommendations of the NYSC Camp Court.
The Court, she said is the NYSC Disciplinary Committee which handles cases arising in camp.
“The Court considered their cases and gave them the opportunity to defend themselves for not being properly kitted in line with service regulations which includes undertaking to keep to the rules and regulations of the scheme”.
“They were properly defended by a Corps Lawyer and at the end, the Court found them guilty and recommended they be decamped and de-kitted”, she said.
The State Coordinator, however, noted that though they were de-kitted and decamped in line with the bye-laws of NYSC, the matter has been forwarded to the Headquarters of the Scheme for final determination.
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has faulted the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) for dismissing two female corps members who refused to wear shorts and trousers for religious reasons.
Speaking on the dismissal of the ladies in an interview with NEWSMEN, the Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the CAN President, Rev. Adebayo Oladeji, said the corps members should not be victimized for holding onto their faith.
The cleric urged the NYSC to be more tolerant.
He said, “The fundamental rights of the people as regards religion must be respected.
“And that is why, a few months ago, when some Muslim women were protesting over the wearing of hijab at the Law School, we refused to speak against it because it is their right and thank God, they won it.
“We are appealing to the leadership of the NYSC to revisit the matter.
“In this country, the religious right is an inalienable right that must be respected. They must allow people to practice their religion.
“If our government agencies have no regard for the way people worship God, then it means they are satanic. Any system that does not respect religion is satanic.”
Adebayo urged the affected corps members to go to court, citing how Firdaus Amasa sued the Nigerian Law School in 2017 when she was prevented from being called to the bar because she refused to remove her hijab.