By: Ibanga Isine

Brigadier-General Yushau Dogara Ahmed

Director General

National Youth Service Crops (NYSC)

Plot 416, Tigris Crescent

Maitama, Abuja.


Dear General,


From the bottom of my heart, Sir, permit me to thank you for the sterling performance you have put into the service of our very beloved country since your appointment on January 30, 2023 as the 22nd director general of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

When I say “from the bottom of my heart,” please do not take it literally because down there where the bottom is, there is no heart. Of course, there is only one thing that comes out from the “bottom” and I will not mention it here because this is supposed to be an appreciation letter.

But now that I think about it, Sir, there is no contesting the fact that you have established an admirable career in the Nigerian military to earn the post of director general of the NYSC.

If anyone were in doubt, your intimidating profile on the NYSC website would easily convince them that you came to the job with more than a smattering of experience and qualification and you proved it when you swung into action as soon as you reported for duty on January 30 by announcing your policy thrust with the first focal area being on “improving security, welfare of corps members and staff to engender optimal service delivery to the nation.” That was a bold move and that is why I am here to appreciate you again, from the “bottom” of my heart.

As I bask in this euphoric praise and worship, the spirits have begged me to turn off my microphone. Remember when some people asked somebody to turn off his mic? It didn’t end well. That is perhaps why the spirits are nudging me not to talk. They say it would be most disrespectful and rude to tell you that as the 22nd director general of the NYSC, you donated eight prospective corps members to Zamfara bandits, sorry, bandits in Zamfara on August 22.

I regret labeling the bandits as being from Zamfara State. We were warned not to classify some persons who are on a killing rampage around the country based on their ethnicity because crime knows no tribe, class, or region. And this is happening in the same country where Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo, Asari Dokubo, Ateke Tom, and others who massacred and injured their brothers and sisters are referred to as Niger Delta militants. No one warned us against referring to the people who are enforcing the wicked sit-at-home in the South-East by their acronym, IPOB.

Sorry General. I didn’t mean to veer off the point. But the spirits have vowed to go on hunger strike if I tell you that on August 22, eight young Nigerians who were heading for mobilisation in your Sokoto camp were forcefully “mobilised” by people we have been coerced to call bandits I am wondering why the date they were abducted tallied with your number as the 22nd director-general of the NYSC.  The gods must be either inebriated or mad or both, to allow such a coincidence.

In case you don’t know their names, I will defy the gods of praise and worship which has been walking on two legs across the country just to help you know them.  They are: Abigail Peter Sandy, Uyoobong Victor Udofia, Daniel Etim Bassey, Sabanah Anyaewe Ikan, and Emmanuel Emmanuel Esudue.  Others are: Victoria Udoka, Solomon Bassey Daniel and Glory Etukudo Thomas.

Udeme Umoren, a driver with the Akwa Ibom Transport Company (AKTC), was transporting them through Zamfara when freedom fighters of the North intercepted the bus and “mobilised” them and the driver for ransom.

With due respect, General, how do you sleep in the night knowing that peoples’ children who simply answered the call to serve their country are languishing in the camp of brigands who can take their lives at any time?

If your child or that of President Bola Tinubu was captured in this way, would you act as if nothing had happened or that you were not responsible for them just because they did not make it to the camp?

I grew up in the village with my grandmother and she used to tell me stories about the Nigerian Civil War and how she dreaded soldiers with red gorgets. Nne, as we fondly called her, believed that soldiers, especially, the ones with red gorgets were invincible. Just like grandma, I thought soldiers like you would go to the limits to help people in distress.

Unfortunately, as a “brave” soldier, you haven’t raised a finger or said anything since the youngsters were forcibly “mobilised,” and neither the former governor of Zamfara, Bello Matawalle, who is now minister of state for defense, has done anything, presumably because they aren’t his children.

Nigeria is indeed a huge crime scene, sorry, I meant a great country. It is the only country in the world to entrust the management of its national defense systems to someone who failed terribly as governor, was nearly chased out of government house by brigands until he began paying ransom, and was under investigation for kleptomaniac tendencies. Only in a fantastic nation (don’t mind one former British PM who said we are fantastically corrupt) like Nigeria, I suppose.  And for this, we appreciate President Tinubu. He has done so well.

But General Dogara, could you put yourself in the place of the disconsolate parents of those youth for a second and imagine that they were your own children so you could tell me how it feels?

Or should I tell you what your Sokoto State Coordinator, Usman Yakubu-Yaro told some friends of the victims when they got in touch with him shortly after they got news of the illegal mobilisation? One Diana Godwin, who sent a direct message to me on my Facebook Messenger account said Malam Yakubu-Yaro said the NYSC cannot do anything since the youngsters did not make it to the camp. I don’t believe the coordinator could have been so callous and insensitive to say a thing like that but action, they say, speaks louder than words.

The resonating silence of a redneck general led-NYSC, the inaction of the minister of women affairs and chief defender of an alleged rapist, and the inexcusable inability of Nigeria’s security forces and police to take concrete action to rescue the prospective corps members about a month after they were abducted speak to the shame of the metaphoric giant of Africa.

No, really, what am I saying? I had completely forgotten that our armed forces are gearing up to lead a regional force to oust the junta in the Niger Republic and restore power to the country’s “democratically elected” leader. I also failed to take into account the fact that bandits are immune to law enforcement, and that state governors must pay them off before they will remain calm.

They have a monopoly of violence and that is why they can wipe out communities, break into a medium-security prison less than 35 kilometers from Aso Rock Villa, shoot down military warplanes and record videos, attack a leading military university, and kill and abduct senior officers with no consequences.

But General, Sir, you know how much respect I have for you, and that’s why I’m pleading with you to take decisive action like a soldier right now.

As a man in charge of the lives of thousands of young people who are being trained to serve a country that does not serve them, your actions so far drip with insensitivity, inhumanity, and lack of empathy. You may also be interested to know that the bandits raised the ransom from N4 million to N10 million and have already collected N14 million from distressed parents with a fresh demand for more money.

Only an idiot like me would believe that the Nigerian security forces and the DSS are unaware of where the bandits are hiding those children.  Since you and I both know that the eight young graduates had no business boarding the AKTC bus to Sokoto State until you sent them letters instructing them to report there for mobilization, I beg you to get them released in the name of everything you hold sacred.


I am Citizen Ibanga Isine


President Bola Tinubu

President of Senate, Godswill Akpabio

National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu

Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar

Minister of State, Defence, Bello Matawalle

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