By Henry Oladele
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called for the postponement of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) Batch A orientation camp due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country.
The Director of the group, Prof. Ishaq Akintola made the call in a statement issued in Lagos on Wednesday.
He expressed doubts over the wisdom behind the resolve of the NYSC to carry on with the orientation exercise in the face of worldwide outbreaks.
“Authorities of the NYSC on Sunday March 8 told youth corps members not to panic over the Coronavirus outbreak around the world.
“According to the NYSC, certain preventive measures have been put in place to prevent any outbreak of the virus in its 37 orientation camps scattered nationwide.
“But we express doubts over the wisdom behind the resolve of the NYSC to carry on with the orientation exercise in the face of worldwide outbreaks,” he said.
Akintola said available records showed that coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, China, had killed more than 4,000 people and infected over 116,000 across the world.
He said the U. S. alone had reported 14 deaths and about 240 cases of infection, adding that an exercise that attracted about 350,000 Nigerian graduates annually deserved more caution.
“While we agree that the outbreak is not the fault of NYSC officials, we insist that the planning of the orientation camps should take into cognisance the reality on ground.
“To be on the safe side, the exercise should be postponed by one or two months.
“We are talking of 350,000 skilled Nigerians. These are our children. They are the hope of this country. We should not put their lives at risk.
“Events are being postponed across the world. Saudi Arabia, a highly conservative country, saw wisdom in halting its annual Umrah (lesser pilgrimage),” he said.
He commended the Federal Government for steps taken to curtail the spread of the virus, warning that an assemblage of youths across the nation for one month was too dangerous now.
“We therefore suggest an immediate suspension of all preparations for the 2020 Batch A orientation exercise in the interest of public safety until the coast is clear,” he said. (NAN)