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Did Fayemi ask FG to recruit youth corps members to fight Boko Haram?

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Claim: Many newspapers and blogs recently reported that Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, called on the Federal Government to recruit NYSC corps members to fight Boko Haram and bandits in Nigeria.

The headlines were largely misleading, and for most part, misrepresented the statement of the Governor. Most of the stories quoted the Governor out of context. The claim is therefore misleading. 

Full Text

Recently, a statement credited to the Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, quoted him as saying that the Federal Government should deploy NYSC corps members in the fight against Boko Haram. This story has gone viral, and has been circulated widely both in newspapers and on social media.

Frontline media organisations like Punch, Sahara Reporters, and Daily Posts among others had quoted the Ekiti State Governor as saying,

 “I believe one of the cheapest and fastest ways to handle this is to amend the law setting up the National Youth Service Corps such that we can use the existing orientation camps to train willing and able graduates to reflate the security personnel under a special arrangement that will be worked out.

“That way, the fund that is currently deployed to the NYSC can be used with just some additional funding which could be sourced through a national emergency fund for the next five to 10 years. Those who cannot join the military services can serve in their community without pay if we must still retain the NYSC for everyone.”

Screenshot of Punch Headline

On Wednesday, 13 October, a certain Campus News blog, in its headline, quoted the Governor thus: ‘USE CORPS MEMBERS TO FIGHT BOKO HARAM, OTHERS WHO CAN’T FIGHT SHOULD WORK WITHOUT PAY, FAYEMI TELLS FG’

Screenshot of Campus News Headline

Fayemi was alleged to have made the statement in the lecture he delivered at the Babatunde Oduyoye Annual Birthday Lecture in Ibadan on Tuesday, 12 October 2021.

Verification

A check on the media reveals that Governor Fayemi was actually at the event in Ibadan where he delivered the seventh lecture series to mark the 2021 annual birthday ceremony of Chief Babatunde Oduyoye, the Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on Political Affairs.

Did Fayemi say that corps members should be recruited to fight Boko Haram?

Many media houses reported in their headlines that he actually called for the recruitment of corps members to fight insecurity. However, The Cable, reporting the same event, quoted Governor Fayemi as saying, ‘a cost-effective and quick way to achieve the recruitment drive is to reform the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and encourage “willing” corps members to join military services. With this, we can use the existing orientation camps to train willing and able graduates to reflate the security personnel under a special arrangement that will be worked out.’

An examination of this statement seems to suggest that the governor actually asked that volunteers and willing corps members can be recruited to help in combating insecurity in the country, as is reflected in a WhatsApp graphic supposedly from the Ekiti State Government, in an attempt to clarify the alleged misrepresentation of the governor by some sections of the media.

WhatsApp rebuttal of the viral story

Official Clarification

A text message was sent to Mr Olayinka Oyebode, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Kayode Fayemi, for clarification on the matter. He replied that the Governor only indicated that ‘the young graduates have an option to embrace the military or opt to continue in their line of profession after the training,’ meaning that he was quoted out of context. 

Conclusion

An examination of the body of most of the news media that reported the statements of Governor Fayemi shows that the headlines were misleading, and for most part, misrepresented the statement of the Governor. Most of the stories quoted the Governor out of context. The claim is therefore misleading. 

The researcher produced this fact-check per Splash FM 105.5, Ibadan with the Dubawa 2021 fellowship partnership, to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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