What would have snowballed into a religious crisis in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) camp in Karaye, Kano State was nipped in the bud at the weekend, and the army commandant there swiftly withdrawn after corps members protested his high-handedness.
The corps members were outraged after the military officer accosted those from a religious event last Friday and others from a social event and proceeded to punish them in a manner they considered inappropriate.
Angered, some of the corps members flared up and threatened to decamp and ask to be removed from Kano by their parents.
Within minutes, they mobilised a group and began to chant, calling for the removal of the military camp commandant.
At the same time, others composed social media messages and began circulating. Parents, guardians, and other well-wishers began to panic.
Two copies of the messages were sent to Everyday.ng. They read unedited:
“Some trouble brewing at Kano NYSC Camp.
NYSC_NG_ KANO RIOT.
CORPERS VERSES ARMY.
STATE NYSC CORDINATOR DECAMP CAMP COMMANDANT TONIGHT WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT.
CORPERS PROTEST TO GO BACK HOME.
If I may ask when Wl maltreatment, oppression & humiliation stop in this society.
As at 9:30pm some corpers where coming back frm NCCF service nd sm frm mammy market when they were stoped to frog jump by d Camp commandant for over 30mins nd sm asked to crawl wch as a result of the punishment 2 persons went unconscious and was rushed to d medical center, meanwhile social events were going on at this hour wch d hall is nt big enough to contain all corps members wch resulted them being found outside d hall. He Also slapped a guy nd threw a chair at him wch resulted d retaliation frm d corpers over this maltreatment. All corpers protested we no go gree waka that d camp commandant b sent packing tonight or everyone Wl go bck home. My people since we came here is just as if we came to a military school. I can’t remember filling a form like that. We await tomorrow as all corps members stated that they Wl nt go to parade ground due to this issue. They need rest.
Nw the question is, if it is this way wht Wl our next one yr in kano b like.
Corps members are scared.
Redeployment on pples mind.”
(The other message that went viral reads:)
“There was riot, last night, in NYSC Orientation Camp in Karaye, Kano State sparked by the high handedness of the Camp Commandant on Christian Corp members after their prayer meeting. As it stands now the safety of these our children, who have been called to serve their fatherland, is not guaranteed. We therefore call on the Director-General of NYSC to intervene quickly and resolve the matter & ensure the safety of our children.
Pls help send out this until it gets to the Director-General, NYSC. May God continue to protect our corpers there & all over the country. Amen.
Everyday.ng gathered that as soon as the Kano State Co-ordinator of the NYSC got wind of the brewing crisis, he initiated remedies that led to the immediate redeployment of the army officer and restored calm by morning.
The excited corps members applauded the moves and began their own remedial actions to calm the frayed nerves of parents and well-wishers.
One was another social media message that read:
“The state coordinator intervened last night and decamped the camp commandant immediately. And this afternoon state coordinator apologized to the corp members for the maltreatment they have been experiencing from the camp commandant and asked us to call our parents and well wishers to tel them that d camp is calm now and we’re safe. He stated d incident will not repeat again.”
In a statement by its spokesman, Aliyu Ahmed, the NYSC said: “The attention of the Management of the NYSC has been drawn to news reports of skirmishes between a group of Corps members and the Camp Commandant, Capt. Anyaegbunan during the ongoing 2017 Batch ‘B’ Orientation Course at Karaye.
“We wish to state for the records that the face-off started as a result of actions taken by a group of Corps members in solidarity with their colleagues who were being punished while loitering within the Camp Premises as social activity was going on.
“The chanting of solidarity songs by the Corps members was an effort to get the erring Corps member released from the Camp Commandant which later ignited a rowdy session.”