John Adams, Minna
After 15 years on the drawing board, the Niger State Government has began the construction of a permanent orientation camp for National Youth Service CorpS (NYSC) in the state.
The contract for the construction of the NYSC camp was first awarded in 2000 but no meaningful progress was achieved until 2011 when the immediate past administration re-awarded it.
The work was again stopped after about N40 million was paid to the contractor as mobilisation fee.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello announced the commencement of work on the new permanent orientation camp, in Minna, on Thursday, during the opening of 2018 Batch ‘B’ orientation course and swearing ceremony of corps members posted to the state.
The governor expressed regret that every successive administration in the state had paid lip service to the construction of a befitting orientation camp for corps members in the state, saying that it was worrisome that after over 40 years of its creation as a state, Niger State could not boast of a permanent orientation camp.
The governor, who was represented at swearing in ceremony by the state Commissioner for youth development, Alhaji Ismaila Ibrahim, disclosed that in the meantime, the state government has renovated the temporary camp in other to reduce the suffering of corps members posted to the state pending the completion of the permanent camp.
The governor also directed that the N5,000 state allowance to corps members, that was stopped last year due to economic meltdown, be restored.
The governor, therefore, reminded the corps members that the one year mandatory service remains one of the potent tools for national integration to build bridges across the regions, tribes and religious divide.
“It is important for you to note that the call for national service is a call for national unity, unusual sacrifice, selfless service and self discipline for the next one year”
Earlier, the state coordinator of the NYSC, Mrs. Theresa Ibukun Arokoyo, expressed gratitude to the state government for embarking on the construction of the permanent orientation camp, adding that lack of a befitting accommodation has brought untold hardship for both the corps members and the staff during orientation exercise.
She disclosed that a total of 2,047 corps members had been fully documented for the Batch ‘B’ 2018 orientation exercise, out of this number, 1,090 of them are females while 957 were males.