Is Nysc Compulsory In Nigeria

In Nigeria, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is a compulsory program for graduates of universities and polytechnics. The NYSC was established in 1973 by the Nigerian government to foster unity, national integration, and development among the diverse ethnic groups in the country.


Here, we will explore the details of the NYSC, its requirements, significance, and the implications of its compulsory nature.

Background and Objectives of NYSC


The NYSC was created in the aftermath of the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) to promote healing and reconciliation. The primary objectives of the NYSC include:

  1. National Unity and Integration: The program aims to bridge the ethnic, cultural, and regional divides by posting graduates to states different from their states of origin.
  2. Development and Community Service: Corps members are engaged in various developmental projects and community services, contributing to the socioeconomic growth of the nation.
  3. Youth Empowerment: The scheme provides opportunities for young graduates to develop skills and gain practical work experience, thereby enhancing their employability.

Compulsory Nature of the NYSC

Participation in the NYSC is mandatory for all Nigerian graduates under the age of 30. The scheme covers graduates from universities, polytechnics, and other tertiary institutions, both within Nigeria and abroad. Here are key aspects of this compulsory requirement:

  1. Eligibility: Graduates who have completed their studies and obtained their certificates (degree or Higher National Diploma) are required to register for the NYSC. This includes Nigerian graduates who studied abroad and have obtained an evaluation certificate from the Federal Ministry of Education.
  2. Registration and Call-Up: Eligible graduates must register on the NYSC portal and receive a call-up letter assigning them to a state of service. Failure to comply with this process can result in penalties, including the inability to secure certain types of employment.
  3. Exemptions and Deferrals: Graduates over the age of 30, those with physical disabilities, and individuals who have served in the military or paramilitary services may be exempted from the NYSC. Exemptions must be officially granted, and exempted individuals receive an exemption certificate.

Structure of the NYSC Program

The NYSC program spans one year and is divided into four main phases:

  1. Orientation Camp: This initial phase lasts for three weeks and involves rigorous training, including military drills, lectures on national issues, skill acquisition programs, and social activities to promote bonding among corps members.
  2. Primary Assignment: After orientation, corps members are posted to various public and private establishments where they work for the remainder of the service year. This could include schools, hospitals, government offices, and non-governmental organizations.
  3. Community Development Service (CDS): Corps members are required to engage in community development projects, which can range from health campaigns and environmental sanitation to educational programs and infrastructure development.
  4. Winding-Up and Passing-Out: The final phase involves the completion of service, assessment of corps members’ performance, and issuance of the NYSC discharge certificate, which is a crucial document for employment in Nigeria.

Significance and Challenges

The compulsory nature of the NYSC underscores its importance in national policy. However, the scheme faces several challenges:

  1. Security Concerns: Corps members posted to regions with high-security risks often face dangers, which has led to calls for better safety measures.
  2. Accommodation and Welfare: Adequate provision for accommodation and welfare of corps members remains a significant issue in many states.
  3. Corruption and Mismanagement: Instances of corruption and mismanagement within the NYSC administration have occasionally marred the program’s effectiveness.

Despite these challenges, the NYSC remains a pivotal institution in Nigeria, contributing to national unity, youth development, and community service. Its compulsory nature ensures that all graduates contribute to the nation’s growth and experience a broader perspective of Nigeria’s diverse cultural and regional landscape.


The NYSC is indeed compulsory in Nigeria, serving as a rite of passage for graduates into the workforce and society. Its goals of fostering unity, development, and empowerment are crucial for Nigeria’s progress. While the scheme faces challenges, its compulsory implementation underscores the government’s commitment to these national objectives. The continued success and improvement of the NYSC will depend on addressing its shortcomings and ensuring the safety and welfare of the participating corps members.


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