To 'serve' or To 'serve'?
Wanting to be a female Corp Member without wearing trousers; how reasonable?
Haven laid hold of Tolu (The decamped corps member)'s story and reasons for being obstinate about wearing the khaki trouser, I felt we should look deeply into the matter and plot a way forward from here.
"Tolulope, who was expelled from the nysc orientation camp last week said that wearing of trousers negate her Christian belief and values which she could not compromise.
She said, “I had a dream when I was 10 years. God appeared to me through a scripture that as a child of God, I must abstain from men’s wears and since then I have taken cognizance of it. And my parents know this as well.”
“Before I had the dream, I never wore trousers and even after the dream, up till now. I have not wore trousers. I explained everything to the leadership of the NYSC but they said the penalty for not wearing the khaki trousers is by being decamped.
“I faced a panel and I was directed to submit all the kits that were given to me at the camp, which I did. I was also ordered to go to the accounts unit and refund the N2, 500 transportation and bicycle allowances I was paid on the camp and I did so. All these happened on the same Friday that I was ordered to leave the camp.
“I want to serve my father land and if NYSC will allow me to wear skirt on the camp, I am ready to return to the orientation camp. My khaki and white skirts were made in such a way that they did not give me any problem. I was in Platoon Four and I participated actively in all the exercises from Tuesday to the Friday that I was thrown out of the camp,” Tolulope said". -Press Releases.
In life you get some, you lose some, as long as your gains out weighs your loses, you're on track. As it stays, only tolu can tell.
The police, Army, Navy, Air force etc in their magnanimity created an allowance for skirt wearing female officers (with the exception of combat uniforms like the camouflage I believe). Hence, there's always a way out. There are hundreds of Tolus out there (Christians / Muslims), we haven't seen nothing yet.
The hijab issue still lies boiling somewhere around the corner, only saved by the fact that no one has been kicked out of camp for wearing the hijab (perhaps the hijab wearing corp members are conforming now?).
There can someday be room for such religious interpretations in the NYSC, the scheme won't be the first to create such room, it's in operation even in the Force.
Tolu has lost the privilege to serve her fatherland via the NYSC (sub-paramilitary) scheme, for reasons stated by her as religious convictions. They're her conviction, yes, though extreme ones in my own submission. But like I said earlier concerning her being decamped, a loss or gain, "Only Tolu Can Tell".
Those who have been decamped for religious interpretations in dressing should either be recalled to serve as their religion permits or issued an extremist (they can call it whatever they please) certificate of exemption from NYSC, instead of being discharged empty handed. This will atleast qualify them for a job in institutions that uphold, condones or permit such religious interpretations. Tolu and others like her can have a place in Nigeria as they learn to count their cost even better.
The bottom line is : THEY SHOULDN'T BE DENIED THEIR RIGHTS TO THE NYSC AS NIGERIANS. There are better ways to handle this.
We should not watch while this also degenerates into another look alike of the " Boko Haram" insurgency. Like in the case of "Boko Haram", if western education is a taboo like they state, then the government can rid their land of western schools and let them design their own form/structure of education. How much has Nigeria/Nigerians gained in the tussle with Boko Haram? Thousands of deaths I guess?. "You can't force the horse to drink, all you can do is take him to the river".
That aside, NYSC is the issue for today.
A point of note for other Christian and Muslim extremist out there who look forward to incorporating some articles of their religion into the official look and costume of the NYSC, please beware, have a rethink, you're likely not to serve your fatherland via the NYSC nor be employable in Nigeria, if the submissions herein are not looked into/re-visited. Hence, count your cost properly, knowing your NYSC certificate is a precursor to employment in Nigeria.
So where do you stand, to serve (NYSC) or to serve (Religion/Convictions/Beliefs/Traditions etc)?.