Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Federal Government has made a passionate appeal to the state and local governments to honour their obligations to the corps members posted to their areas.
Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, gave the directive while delivering a goodwill message at the opening ceremony of the meeting of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) top management and representatives of the state governments in Abuja on Tuesday.
“I am aware that the NYSC Director-General has at various fora encouraged stakeholders in the scheme to play their roles effectively so as to enhance the achievement of its objectives.
“This meeting is, therefore, a significant step forward in the advocacy for increased support for the scheme, especially at the grassroots.
“May I use this auspicious occasion to call on all participants to contribute toward addressing critical issues that will be discussed at this meeting and take home the decisions that will be made for effective implementation.
“This will not only endear our states to the corps members, but also motivate them to sustain their contributions to our various development efforts.
“As the National Youth Service Corps continues to discharge its mandate effectively, I want to assure that the Federal Government will continue to support it to strengthen its operations.
“In the same vein, and in line with the provisions of its enabling act, I wish to appeal to all states and local government councils to also, discharge their obligations to the scheme.
“In particular, areas of deficiencies which are affecting the smooth discharge of the scheme’s mandate should be addressed for the overall benefit of our dear country,” he assured.
The Minister further said: “I am happy for this strategic meeting organised by the NYSC management for the purpose of meeting minds with representatives of state governments on ways of strengthening partnership and enhancing the productivity of corps members.
“I commend the initiative of the NYSC Director-General in convening this meeting, which will no doubt help to reposition the scheme for greater performance and actualise the vision of its founding fathers
“The NYSC scheme was established over 46 years ago to foster unity and integration of the diverse ethnic groups in the country as well as serve as a catalyst for national development. To achieve these fundamental objectives, all tiers of government are assigned roles and responsibilities.
“No doubt, the scheme has made immense contributions to the socio-economic, political and cultural development of our great country. To sustain these achievements, all tiers of government need to fulfill their obligations toward ensuring smooth operations of the scheme.
“It is in the light of this that I consider this meeting timely and the choice of the theme “Optimising the potentials of corps members for national unity and development: The role of state governments as stakeholders,” as most appropriate.
“For the potentials of corps members to be fully harnessed for national development, a conducive working atmosphere must be created for them.
“However, I am concerned that the successes recorded by corps members in the past are being impaired today by the inability of critical stakeholders, especially states and local governments to fully discharge their statutory responsibilities to the scheme.
“Reversing this trend will surely increase the tempo of contributions of corps participants to the improvement of the living standard of our people, especially in rural communities,” he said.