The Nigeria Senate has rejected a bill sponsored by Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba-South) seeking to amend the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Act to allow corps members modify the NYSC uniform to conform with their religious beliefs.
If the bill had been passed, it would have allowed corps members to wear skirt, hijab, among others to suit their faith.
Leading the debate for the second reading at the plenary on Wednesday, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha said the amendment was intended to “ensure that regulations made by the NYSC directorate prescribing uniforms and exercise regimen do not violate the religious practices and beliefs of corps members.”
Senator Bwacha added that the bill proposing to amend sections 13 and 16 of the principal Act, also seek to “increase the penalty for the offences contained in the Act to make such fines reflect the present value of the naira.”
Punch News reported that Bwacha proposed that a new Subsection 3 be inserted to Section 16 of the NYSC Act to read, “In exercising its powers under Subsection 2(a) and (b) of this section, the directorate shall take into consideration the need to prescribe or adopt uniforms and exercise regimen or drills that do not violate the religious practices relating to modest dressing, and accordingly specify alternative uniforms and exercise regimen that conform to the religious dictates and conscience of corps members as recognized by the 1999 Constitution.”
The bill was struck out because most of the senators who spoke on the bill faulted its intention and voted in disfavor of it.