The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has faulted the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) for dismissing two female corps members who refused to wear shorts and trousers for religous reasons.

The corps members whose names were given as Okafor Love Obianuju, with call-up number EB/19C/0523; and Odji Oritsetsolaye, with call-up number EB/19C/0530, were sent home from the NYSC camp in Enugu on Sunday, November 10, 2019. 

Speaking on the dismissal of the ladies in an interview with Punch, the Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the CAN President, Rev. Adebayo Oladeji, said the corps members should not be victimized for holding onto their faith. 

The NYSC programme is mandatory for Nigerian graduates under 30 years of age [Premium Times]
The NYSC programme is mandatory for Nigerian graduates under 30 years of age [Premium Times]

The cleric urged the NYSC to be more tolerant. 

He said, “The fundamental rights of the people as regards religion must be respected.

“And that is why, a few months ago, when some Muslim women were protesting over the wearing of hijab at the Law School, we refused to speak against it because it is their right and thank God, they won it.

“We are appealing to the leadership of the NYSC to revisit the matter.

“In this country, religious right is an inalienable right that must be respected. They must allow the people to practise their religion.

“If our government agencies have no regard for the way people worship God, then it means they are satanic. Any system that does not respect religion is satanic.”

Adebayo urged the affected corps members to go to court, citing how Firdaus Amasa sued the Nigerian Law School in 2017 when she was prevented from being called to bar because she refused to remove her hijab.