Against the backdrop of calls for the scrapping of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), the Director General of the Scheme, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim has called for more engagement with Nigerians on the vital contributions of the NYSC to the growth, progress and development of the country.
Brig-Gen Ibrahim stated this in a Voice of America (VOA) interview in his office.
The Director General disclosed that the NYSC commissioned a team of scholars who conducted an extensive research and came up with nine volumes on the contributions of corps members in the critical sectors of the national economy.
He said the volumes dwell more on the contributions of corps members in the areas of education, health, elections, community development service, skills acquisition and entrepreneurship development as well as national integration and development, among others.
The director general said in the area of advocacy intervention, corps members have been effectively engaging with members of the public through weekly media documentaries of the contributions of serving and ex- corps members to national development.
According to Ibrahim, the feedback from Nigerians in this regard has been both encouraging and commendable.
In addition, Ibrahim expressed optimism that documentation of activities and interventions of the NYSC scheme would continue to attract goodwill and public support by the active involvement of corps members in nation building.
Noting that democracy provides direction for Nigerians of all shades of opinion to express their views on the success, or otherwise of the scheme but, Brig-Gen Ibrahim believes that the NYSC scheme is still very relevant in addressing contemporary developmental challenges today than it was in the past.
He cited the rural posting policy of the scheme which ensures even distribution of quality manpower in the fields earlier listed.
The director general, who described the role corps members are playing in the fight against Covid-19 as strategic, said that they facilitated the production and distribution of facemasks, liquid soaps, hand sanitizers, disinfection chambers and procured food items and many other palliatives which were distributed to indigent members of their host communities across the country, free of charge.
According to officialnysc.ng, the director general commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for considering corps members as ad hoc staff in the conduct of elections in Nigeria, stressing that corps members are highly educated, neutral, trustworthy and can be held accountable in the process.
Ibrahim emphasize more on the skill acquisition and entrepreneurship development (SAED) programme of the NYSC scheme is unique as corps members acquire chosen skills, access credit facilities to establish their businesses, thus employing others and enhancing national unity, integration and development.
He said corps members are positive change agents and role models that encourage the entrenchment of the culture of patriotism and selfless service among Nigerians.
He recalled that it was a corps member who taught him History in secondary school that inspired him to study History and today, he is an Associate Professor of History.
He added that majority of the lawmakers are ex-corps members, who had positive service year experiences.