Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Director General National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brid-General Shauibu Ibrahim, has revealed that no fewer than 4,644,804 Nigerians have participated from the one year mandatory national service scheme from its inception since 1973.
Speaking during the maiden edition of the NYSC Media Parley with editors and correspondents of various media outfits in Abuja, the NYSC boss equally disclosed that a total of 1,132,409 corps members have benefitted from the over N555 million empowerment loan scheme programme.
“Since inception, 4.644,804 Nigerians have participated in the scheme. This number involve those that actually participated in the scheme excluding those issued certificate of exemption,” he said.
On the recent innovations in the scheme, he said: “In response to prevailing socio-economic realities, the scheme in recent years made the following giant strides to further consolidate its achievements.
“The Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) department was established in 2012 with the mandate to drive the scheme’s collaboration with various stakeholders towards addressing the problem of graduate youth unemployment.
“Presently, corps members are being trained in skill areas such as agro-allied, food, preservation and processing, culture and tourism, cosmetology, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), environment, beautification, construction, education, power and energy, firm and photography and automobile technology.
“The scheme is collaborating with national and international organisations towards providing material, technical and financial support for the programme. So, far, over 1,132,409 corps members have been sensitised and over 700,000 have undergone various forms of skill training.
“The BOI-NYSC Graduate Empowerment Fund, which is a product of our partnership with the Bank of Industry is yielding encouraging result with the sum of over N540 million so far disbursed as loans to 325 corps entrepreneurs. In the same vein, the Central Bank of Nigeria in partnership with Heritage Bank has disbursed N15 million to seven corps members under the NYSC/CBN Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (YEDP),” he revealed.
The NYSC DG equally spoke on the number of corps members that have benefitted from the President’s NYSC Honours Award, disclosing that no fewer than 1,264 ex-corps members have so far benefitted.
“The President’s NYSC Honours Award ceremony is a flagship programme of the scheme, which was instituted in 1974 to reward hard work among corps members. Criteria for the selection of awardees are predicated on outstanding performance in the four cardinal programme of the scheme namely; Orientation course, Primary Assignment, Community Development Service and Winding-up/Passing-Out activities.
“Potential awardees are also assessed on personal qualities such as character, sense of duty, drive and determination, reliability, initiative and resourcefulness, command and leadership, team work, special contributions, self-confidence and emotional poise.
“The process of selecting winners is rigorous and is usually entrusted to a National Selection Committee of eminent Nigerians representing various agencies of government and interest groups. A total of 1,264 ex-corps members have s o far been conferred with the award since its inception. The last edition, during which 168 awardees of the 2015, 2016 and 2017 service years were honoured, took place in April this year,” he said.
He listed his policy directions as sustaining effective utilisation of the potentials of corps members for optimal benefit, pursue a technogically-driven organization to deepen effective service delivery.
Others include; improvement of the welfare and security of corps members and staff, strengthening existing collaboration with stakeholder, reinvigorating NYSC Ventures and SAED programme in line with NYSC Act for greater Impact.