NYSC Ransom Payment True or Fake news ?
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has admitted that copies of its pamphlets containing security tips for staff and corps members contain the “embarrassing” clause that advises corps members to prepare for ransom payment if abducted, in what appears to be a bold volte-face.
However, the organisation stated that it has discovered that different copies of the pamphlets are in circulation, some of which contain the clause and others which do not.
In a terse message to Newsmen on Friday, NYSC spokesperson Adenike Adeyemi stated that the organisation was already investigating the situation.
The reaction follows this newspaper’s insistence that copies in its possession contain the clause, and it raises questions about the organization’s hasty rebuttal earlier in the matter.
“We realised different copies are in circulation,” Mrs Adeyemi wrote in a short response. We’re looking into it.”
On page 56 of the handbook, titled “Security Awareness and Education Handbook For Corps Members and Staff,” both corps members and (and staff) travelling on “high-risk” roads were advised to notify their “family members, friends, and colleagues to have someone on hand to pay off the ransom that could be demanded” in the event they were kidnapped.
Such roads are listed in the document as “Abuja-Kaduna, Abuja-Lokoja-Okene, or Aba-Port Harcourt.”
Watchcon Security Consultancy Services, a private security firm, collaborated with the National Youths Service Corps headquarters to create the document.
On page 57 of the pamphlet, the staff and corps members are advised to “do not antagonise your captors, be polite, and operate with reasonable regards” if they are kidnapped.
It also advises corps members and staff to cooperate with the abductors as much as possible, and to “establish personal relationships with your abductors as soon as possible.”
“The kidnappers may ask for contact persons; do not mention your place of employment, but rather your close friends and parents,” it continued. They will contact them in order to negotiate your release.
“Advise your negotiating partners that they should be friendly with the captors.”
“Take no chances by attempting to flee,” it says, while also advising abductees not to try to be heroes by attempting to flee.
It also advises, “Make no statements to the media after your release without official clearance,” and “share your experience with close associates.”
NYSC, on the other hand, described the clause in circulation as the work of mischief-makers in a statement issued earlier on the matter, a copy of which it made available to journalists on Friday.
“The attention of Management of the National Youth Service Corps has been drawn to a fake release making the rounds on social media to the effect that Corps Members travelling on “high risk roads” should alert their families, friends, and colleagues in order to have someone to pay the ransom that may be demanded in the event of being kidnapped,” the statement reads in part.
“Management would like to state unequivocally that the clause in question is not included in the NYSC Security Tips pamphlet, which was put together by a highly respected retired security expert.
“Management would like to make a public appeal to the general public to always seek clarification on issues relating to the Scheme.”
As a result, the organisation advises Nigerians to always verify information before sharing it on social media, stating that it “has offices in all of the federation’s states, as well as the country’s 774 Local Government Areas for inquiries.”
It went on to say, “Please be wary of falling prey to the antics of mischief makers out to mock the Scheme.”
Following the discovery of the clause, Nigerians took to social media, including Twitter, which the Nigerian government has banned, to express their displeasure with the document.
Many people called the organization’s rebuttal a “open lie,” saying they were surprised that a public organisation would continue to defend itself in the face of clear evidence to the contrary.
Did NYSC Ask Members to pay Ransom?