No fewer than two million Nigerian graduates have passed through the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) since its inception in 1973, an Assistant Director, Malam Muhammad Momoh, has said.
Momoh made this known when participants from Zimbabwe National Defence College visited the NYSC Headquarters in Abuja on Friday.
He said the scheme started with 2,364 graduates in 1973, adding that now over 250, 000 graduates passed through the scheme each year for the national service.
The assistant director, who is in charge of Special Projects, said the scheme’s objectives were to develop common ties among the Nigerian youths and promote national unity and integration.
“It was also to enable Nigerian youths acquire the spirit of self-reliance by encouraging them to develop skills for self-employment and to work as a team to have a virile nation,’’ he said.
Momoh said the programme of the scheme, include orientation courses, primary assignment, community development service and passing out.
“The service year focus primarily on four sectors which are Agriculture, Education, Health and Infrastructure in line with the present administration to develop the host community with their contributions,’’ he said.
He said the corps members had been supporting all other sectors, including participating in electoral activities, national census, among others.
“We are into collaborations with agencies like Energy Commission on renewable energy, NEMA in disaster management and control, EFCC, ICPC, MDG and Bank of Industry for corps members to secure loan.’’
He said the scheme had helped The Gambia to have an institution similar to NYSC and was trying to replicate it in Sierra Leone.
“Our major challenge has been funding, but the government and management are doing their best to have the best,’’ Momoh said.
Earlier, the Head of the delegation, Air Cdr. Michael Moyo, said they were in Nigeria to learn and improve upon their system back home.
Moyo, who is also the Commandant of the college, commended the way they were received in all the places they had visited.
“I am impressed on the level of development in Abuja,’’ he said, and commended the way Nigeria was able to contain its internal strife.
In his response, NYSC Director-General, Maj.-Gen. Johnson Olawumi, said the scheme had achieved a lot within its 40 years in existence, saying: “it has also achieve a lot in national development.’’ (NAN)
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