Is NYSC Compulsory for Graduates in Nigeria or Abroad? -

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Is NYSC Compulsory for Graduates in Nigeria or Abroad?

Time to serve at NYSC
I came across this question very recently. Must every graduate serve in Nigeria? Is it compulsory to do NYSC?

It's a topic on a forum, of course. And if you're familiar with such an environment, a few people will be experts while very many will only share their lay-man views about things.

As a matter of fact, after working as an education consultant and NYSC approved consult for more than a decade, I'd acquired enough experience to guide you rightly if you're confused about NYSC. Is it compulsory? If you chose not to serve, is there any implication? Must a Nigerian who schooled abroad partake in the one-year NYSC programme? 

These and similar questions will be addressed in this post.

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Is it Compulsory to Serve at NYSC?

In a broad sense, NYSC is compulsory for any Nigerian graduate who schools either home or abroad - as long as the person is within the serving age bracket of 30. However, just like education itself, a graduate may choose not to serve if he or she can bear the consequences - which will be covered in detail throughout the post.

The primary conditions for NYSC are to be a graduate of universities and polytechnics (BSC, HND, and their equivalents), and being within the serving age of 30. With these conditions, your institution has no other choice than to mobilize you for a year's national service.

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However, for the foreign graduates, you have the flexibility to decide whether your institution should include you in their proposed NYSC list. The reason in detail later.

Know also that, if mobilized, you may decide to proceed neither for the registration nor the participation in the service. In other words, you have no law or regulatory bodies to fear if mobilized but you decide not to honor it.

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Why You May Consider NYSC as a Local Graduate

While perceiving the importance of national service, a local graduate may be more affected than a foreign counterpart. If you are schooled here at home, you should look into the following benefits of being a corper after graduation before deciding if NYSC is compulsory for you or not.

1. Most Private Companies Require NYSC

In case you don't know or you'd read something conflicting, most private establishments in Nigeria will require your NYSC discharged certificates as a job offer prerequisite. And if you think an exemption certificate - which is an official NYSC certificate if you're overaged and couldn't be mobilized, will substitute for the discharged certificate, you're wrong when dealing with most private companies. 

In fact, to some companies, it's mare a means to reduce the population of the respective applicants for certain posts. And of course, it doesn't even matter to some whether your service year was spent in a related company or sector. What's is important is the discharged certificate.

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2. Self Establishment Doesn't Require NYSC

Just as being self-reliant may not require extensive classroom training, NYSC is never needed to establish your own business, company, or consulting services. If this is your dream and chase, you may ignore the clarion call.

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3. Public Establishments Accept Graduates Who Don't Serve

Once you're a graduate in Nigeria and decide not to serve, you're exempted or excluded, you may end up being given NYSC exception certificate or exclusion letter. Though you won't merit the former unless your serving age is over. In other words, if you want to consider an exemption certificate instead, you have to request your school to suspend mobilizing you until you're 31 or above. For the latter, unless you're a part-time or distance learning graduate.

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As for the public establishments and very few private companies, exemption certificates are accepted in place of the discharges. This is also applicable to graduates of distance learning and part-time courses who are generally (as of now) not allowed to serve whether below or above 30. These graduates are issued NYSC exclusion letters instead. This is equally acceptable by all government bodies and very few private sectors.

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4. Political Offices Requirement

It's been established that the NYSC certificates (discharged or exemption) and the exclusive letter is tenable and acceptable for any political appointment. Therefore, if you have such public office ambitions, you should make sure one of the three is in your possession.

Although it was recently established in the case of the resigned Minister of Finance that you didn't need to serve (at NYSC) or possess any NYSC certificates before you can be appointed and work as a political personality, the culture may still take time in superseding this verdict.

This was contrary to the general belief and acceptance which had earlier to the minister's voluntary resignation.

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Why You May Consider NYSC as a Graduate Abroad

One of the prerequisites for being accepted for political or public positions by a returnee is to serve in Nigeria. This is widely known for now. If you have anything public to chase returning to the country, you should consider serving. 

Similarly, chasing company jobs or offers may require you to present a discharged certificate as earlier noted. If your plan is to spend the rest of your life outside, there's probably no company abroad making NYSC compulsory. Hence, you won't need our one-year after-school service for anything out there.

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