As the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) prepares to celebrate 50 years of existence, the Federal Government is considering improving the welfare of corps members, including their allowances.
Mr Sunday Dare, the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, revealed this on Monday in Abuja, while fielding questions from newsmen after the inauguration of the NYSC@50 anniversary committee.
Dare said that the management of the NYSC had sent a proposal to improve on the uniform of the corps members and to increase their allowances.
“That is already with the President and if that gets the approval, even Skills Acquisition Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) training would go beyond three weeks and will be through the entire youth service.
“So, those are areas that are covered and we believe that this committee will also make recommendations on reforms and improvement not just for the welfare, but also for the system of the NYSC that keeps that engine running.”
The minister said that the NYSC which was established on May 22, 1973, had made a huge impact on the nation’s education and health sectors.
He added that the Federal Government recognises the roles of Nigerian youths, especially members of the NYSC in the nation’s social, economic and political development, hence the desire to celebrate the 50 years existence of the scheme.
It is gratifying to note that the SAED programme of the scheme is stirring the interest of corps members for self-employment and wealth creation.
“The scheme must be celebrated for its remarkable achievements in the promotion of national unity and integration, development of education, healthcare delivery, as well as social and infrastructural development, through its primary assignment and community development services”.
“From a mere 2,300 youth corps members, we have grown to between 350,000 to 400,000 youth corps members annually, in the last 50 years.
“Overall, the scheme has been able to pass close to eight million corps members in our country and I think that is a measure of success.”
While inaugurating the 22-member inter-ministerial committee, he charged them to identify and articulate cogent landmarks achieved by the scheme in the last 50 years with a view to showcasing it to Nigerians.
The committee is also to propose programmes and activities to undertake to mark the 50th anniversary of the scheme and to carefully examine the operations of the scheme and recommend areas of improvement to sustain its relevance.
“It is also expected to call for entries from corps members for logo and mascot to commemorate the anniversary,” the minister said.
Dare said the committee should also advise management on necessary steps to take in achieving the establishment of NYSC schools and additional NYSC garment factory, and the full and immediate take-off of all newly-established NYSC ventures and SAED centres.
While charging members of the committee to work assiduously on its terms of reference, he assured them of government’s support.
The NYSC Director-General, Brig.-Gen. Yusha’u Ahmed, said that the positive roles of successive batches of corps members in the credible conduct of elections in the country was worthy of commendation.
He also commended their participation in other programmes such as population census, immunisation exercise, HIV/AIDS prevention and care and fight against corona virus among others.
The chairman of the inaugurated committee, Mr Taiwo Adeniyi, assured that the committee would deliver on the task given it and also meet up to the desired expectation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NYSC was established by former Head of State, Retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon, to foster national unity and integration.