President Goodluck Jonathan, on Thursday, urged the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to promote national unity and development.
He made the call in his address to mark the passing-out of Batch `A’ 2013 corps members across the country, after the one-year compulsory national service.
The ceremony is taking place simultaneously nationwide.
The president enjoined the corps members to spearhead the transformation of the country and promote harmonious interaction among ethnic groups.
He reminded the corps members that their passing out marked the end of one phase of service to their fatherland and the beginning of another.
He said “you are entering into a new role, one that will further call to task, your training, knowledge, skills, talents and discipline.’’
The President said the education and experience the corps members acquired during the service year had equipped them to succeed in life.
He acknowledged the strides recorded by the scheme in promoting its mission of national integration and development since its inception over 40 years ago.
He said “we feel proud that the NYSC remains a true symbol of national unity, bringing together young people from various institutions and diverse parts of the country.
“The bond of friendship formed during the service year creates opportunities for success in life, and facilitates national integration and development.”
The participants of the scheme were expected to serve their respective host communities in the areas of community development, education, social welfare, health services and agriculture during the one-year service period.
Some of the corps members bagged automatic employment, cash rewards and merit certificates for outstanding performances, while a few others had their service year extended for different reasons.
The President’s address was delivered by Alhaji Dabarako Mohammed, the Kwara Head of Service in Ilorin, who represented the state Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, at the passing out ceremony.
Meanwhile, the directorate had extended the service year of 69 corps members in Kwara for committing various offences under the Batch `A’ programme.
Mr Abiodun Fagbemi, the Kwara NYSC Coordinator, told NAN on Thursday that the affected corps members were sanctioned for flouting the NYSC rules.
He said their service was extended for a period ranging between two weeks and four months depending on the nature of the offence committed.
Fagbemi said many of the erring corps members travelled out of the state without official clearance from the NYSC state office.
The coordinator added that most of the affected members refused to submit their monthly clearance for the payment of their monthly allowances as others were penalised for indiscipline during the service year.
He noted that five corps members would repeat the service year for abandoning the scheme for over three months, saying members who absent themselves for a period of three months would repeat the year.
He said the five corps members may be posted out of the state to serve the punishment in another state.
Fagbemi lamented that two corps members serving in the state under Batch ‘A’ died during the year due to ill-health.
However, five corps members who distinguished themselves were conferred with State Honour awards, while six others received the NYSC state chairman’s award. (NAN)