The Federal Government has said it will not succumb to agitations from some quarters to scrap the National Youth Service Corps scheme.
The Minister of Youth Development and Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalong, in Lagos on Tuesday said the NYSC had come to stay, adding that its merits outweighed its disadvantages.
Dalong said this during an inspection tour of the Lagos State NYSC orientation camp in the Iyana Ipaya area of the state on Tuesday.
He pointed out that the scheme had not only enhanced the socio-cultural and ethnic integration in the country but had also promoted national unity.
He said, “We cannot dismiss the gains of the NYSC scheme in integrating Nigeria; I will stand firmly for the sustenance of the system, to continue in its capacity-building of Nigeria citizens because, it is an indispensable aspect of diversifying our culture.”
While pledging the Federal Government’s continued support for the scheme, the minister said that plan was in place to train interested graduates in skills acquisition after the mandatory one-year service.
He said such graduates would be provided with a start-up capital at the end of the training, which according to him would indirectly stimulate interest in education.
“Apart from the basic orientation programme, the NYSC scheme should also move into including professional and enterprising programmes to support and motivate those who would not want to embrace public services in the country.
“After the mandatory one-year service, the Federal Government is planning an extension, to professionally train interested corps members in skill acquisition, enterprising and professional programmes.
“Corps members with keen interest would be retained and some financial token given to them as start-up capital in furtherance of their skill. This is because due to our research, we find out that people abandon school due to uncertainty of the future. Hence, we believe this would help reduce the unemployed graduate ratio and curtail pressure on white-collar job as a means to win the war against poverty.”
Dalong expressed satisfaction at the state of the Lagos NYSC orientation camp, and thanked the Lagos State government for its support for the scheme.
The minister, however, noted that inadequate facilities at the NYSC orientation camp was one of the challenges of the scheme.
He said, “Nigeria did not plan to have the number of graduates in this present dispensation. If we had planned effectively, the concept of NYSC camping would have started with a permanent and effective structure.
“The visionaries of the scheme did not anticipate the lifespan of the scheme after the Civil War; the implementation of the scheme was a strategy to mobilise and integrate Nigerians together, hence, the huge number of graduates each year has put much pressure on the facilities, calling for constant renovation and upgrading,” the minister said.
Responding, the Director General of NYSC, Brig. Gen. Johnson Bamidele Olawumi, expressed gratitude to the minister for his visit and promised that his administration would do its best to uplift the NYSC scheme towards the economic growth and development of the country.