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This Is How Sen­ate React­ed To Bill Seek­ing To Allow NYSC Female Mem­bers Wear Skirt

The Sen­ate has struck out a bill seek­ing to amend the Nation­al Youth Ser­vice Corps Act to allow the uni­form worn by corps mem­bers to accom­mo­date their reli­gious belief.

If it had been passed, par­tic­i­pants would have been allowed to wear skirt or hijab, among oth­ers.
This fol­lowed the pre­sen­ta­tion of the lead debate on the gen­er­al prin­ci­ples of the bill which was spon­sored by Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP-Tara­ba) dur­ing ple­nary.
Accord­ing to him, the bill is intend­ed to amend Sec­tions 13 and 16 of the Prin­ci­pal Act. He said the bill sought to ensure that reg­u­la­tions made by the NYSC Direc­torate pre­scrib­ing uni­forms and exer­cise reg­i­men did not vio­late the reli­gious prac­tices and beliefs of corps mem­bers. He said the objec­tive of the bill was to also increase the penal­ty for the offens­es con­tained in the Act, to make such fines reflect the present val­ue of the naira.
Bwacha, who is Deputy Minor­i­ty Leader, not­ed that the NYSC was a laud­able scheme estab­lished in 1973 by the then mil­i­tary Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon. “It was part of the effort by the Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment to rebuild, recon­struct and rec­on­cile Nige­ri­ans fol­low­ing the unfor­tu­nate inci­dents of the civ­il war which end­ed in 1970.
“It is impor­tant to point out that while the scheme has lived up to expec­ta­tion as a reli­able plat­form for nur­tur­ing young patri­ot­ic Nige­ri­ans, fos­ter­ing uni­ty and pro­mot­ing a bet­ter under­stand­ing of our reli­gious and cul­tur­al dif­fer­ences, it has, how­ev­er, become nec­es­sary to amend the Prin­ci­pal Act. “This is with a view to address­ing observed laps­es and short­com­ings. One of such laps­es is that the penal­ty for offences con­tained in the Act is now out­dat­ed and in need of urgent review.
“Sec­ond­ly, Sec­tion 16 of the Prin­ci­pal Act man­dates the NYSC Direc­torate to make reg­u­la­tions or by-laws relat­ing to dis­ci­pline, exer­cise reg­i­men, uni­forms, wel­fare of corps etc. “Uni­forms and drills adopt­ed by the Direc­torate have become a basis for ten­sion and con­tro­ver­sy between the Direc­torate and corps mem­bers and oth­er mem­bers of the pub­lic. “The major bone of con­tention is that some of the uni­forms and drills con­tra­vene reli­gious beliefs and prac­tices of corps mem­bers and invari­ably their right to free­dom of reli­gion, thought and con­science under the Niger­ian Con­sti­tu­tion. “This bill essen­tial­ly address­es the above-men­tioned laps­es in the Prin­ci­pal Act,” he said.

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