NYSC: Coping In Orientation Camps Amidst Covid-19, Insecurity

NYSC: Coping In Orientation Camps Amidst Covid-19, Insecurity

Joel Ajayi

As thousands of Corps Members will once file out at different orientation camps across the 36 states and the FCT there is a need for the authorities to ensure the safety of the young Nigerians who would heed the clarion call to serve the nation.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 till date, no fewer than five different batches of corps members have been mobilized successfully, an achievement that many parents would want the scheme to replicate as another batch resumes camp across the country.

Amidst all odds, NYSC has indeed raised its head high in ensuring that corps members did not miss any orientation camp with equal attention to the approved safety protocols.

NYSC was conceptualized as a veritable vehicle to galvanize national unity and integration, speeding up the healing process of a country just emerging from the pains of a bloody civil war which left in its wake great devastations in both human and material terms, on both sides of the conflict.

The birthing of the Scheme in 1973 was a follow-up to the three Rs of Reconciliation, Reconstruction, and Rehabilitation pronounced by the then Head of State, Gen Yakubu Gowon Administration at the end of the Biafra/Nigeria the Civil War in 1970.

On the part of their parents and guardians, they felt that letting their sons and daughters travel to far-flung states constituted a heavy security risk, given that the wounds inflicted by the Civil War was still fresh.

Notwithstanding the protests, the then Government was resolute in going ahead with the establishment of the Scheme, having given due consideration to the perceived gains derivable from the Corps.

Interestingly, the Corps, having weathered so many existential storms has grown exponentially over the past forty – eight years, mobilizing currently for service over 300,000 Nigerian youths, hence making it the biggest youth – mobilization agency in the globe.

The question that thus arises is, has the NYSC been successful in achieving its major objectives of “developing common ties among the Nigerian youths and promoting national unity and integration?” For all its faults, the answer is still yes, to some extent. By posting “corpers” to unfamiliar places in order to interact with people from different backgrounds, the NYSC brings together Nigerian youths from different socio-economic and ethno-religious backgrounds.

This helps bridge the ethnic and religious divisions in the nation by providing exposure to other ethnic groups, which is a positive step towards building a stronger nation. Moreover, the scheme aids social integration by providing opportunities for cross-cultural interaction that has led to inter-tribal marriages, helping to reduce inter-ethnic stereotypes and suspicions that were prevalent during the period after the war.

The scheme further serves as an employment buffer by offering employment to recently graduated youths, as some places of deployments retain the ‘corpers’, thereby, aiding economic integration in the country. Likewise, NYSC fosters a sense of patriotism among Nigerian youths; participation is regarded as obeying the clarion call to serve the fatherland, since there is no military conscription in Nigeria.

Ordinarily, some of the youths wouldn’t have had the opportunity to travel to those places, save the scheme. But more importantly, it enables youths from across the country the opportunity to interact.

While in the camp, Corps Members are exposed to the skill training in chosen skill sets and they continue with the training after the Orientation course.

AljazirahNigeria gathered that a number of ex-Corps Members have been able to set up thriving businesses, arising from the NYSC skills acquisition program known as Skills Acquisition & Entrepreneurship Department (SAED) an empowerment program aimed at providing Corps Members with skill set or honing their existing one. The SAED program usually starts in the second week of the orientation course and Corps Members will have the opportunity to choose from over 15 skills sets made available to them.

AljazirahNigeria equally gathered that, SAED program sensitized over 200, 000 young graduates for skills acquisition annually.

NYSC unarguably remains the major youth program in the country, and no amount of resources expended on youth – development is a waste. The youths are the future of this country, and the future of this country should not be toyed with.

The NYSC scheme is fulfilling its mandate and nothing should hamper its operations; if anything, it must be guarded jealously.

As it is there is a non-stop effort by the Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim led the management of NYSC to partner with the Army, DSS, and all relevant security agencies to give the highest consideration to the safety of corps member’s in their areas of operation in Nigeria.

FG LAUNCHES NJFP FOR 20,000 FOR POST-NYSC INTERNSHIP GRADUATES

Just recently, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Nigeria Jubilee Fellow Programme (NJFP), a job placement scheme for graduates that have concluded the one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program; this is an attestation that Corps members are very relevant to the growth and development of the country.

NJFP is government collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the European Union (EU).

While the Private sector partners of the program include BUA, Dangote, VISA Nigeria, Outsource Global, GE Gas, and Power, Lafarge Africa, SecureID, Microsoft, among others.

The fully-paid internship is billed to last for 12-month with an estimated 20,000 beneficiaries posted to reputable private and public sector organizations.

President Buhari stated that creating employment opportunities for Nigerians has been an important part of his government’s policies and strategies, despite Nigeria’s staggering 33.3% unemployment rate with young people between the ages of 15 and 35 are the most affected.

He said NJFP is one of his government’s efforts to keep Nigerian youths are occupied with opportunities that will provide relevant work experience.

The jubilee program will provide a pathway for young Nigerians to gain work experience in top tier organizations, gain relevant skills, and build the right networks for the future,” he said.

The President noted that the NJFP will provide an opportunity for mentors to provide support and guidance for young Nigerians, and chart a new course for skills development and work experience in Nigeria.

He said the programme will build on other efforts of his government to support young Nigerians, and called for more private sector players to plug into the initiative.

However, the beneficiaries will be deployed to a wide range of sectors including ICT, manufacturing, agriculture, mining, creative industries, education, health, research and development, and public sector institutions.

“I will encourage all eligible Nigerians to apply for this program,” Buhari said.

Speaking on the readiness and preparation as 2021 Batch ‘B’ Stream Two Orientation Course enter camps, the scheme revealed that in its the effort to ensure corps members are properly checked before entering the camps over seventy-two thousand RDT test kits have been secured towards the success of the forthcoming orientation exercise.

NYSC Director-General, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim stated this when he paid a courtesy call on the Director-General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Gambo Gumel Aliyu in his office in Abuja who donated the testing kit to the scheme.

He said the NYSC is the only agency where all Prospective Corps Members and other Camp participants are tested for COVID-19 before entering the camps.

Ibrahim added that only those that test negative are allowed into the camps, while those that test positive are taken away by the NCDC and State Health Officials for treatment.

He said this while declaring the 2021 Batch ‘B’ Stream 1 Orientation Course closed at the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp Kubwa, on Monday, August 16, 2021.

DG equally has warned corps members against nocturnal and unauthorized travels and outings.

He enjoined the corps members to resist the temptation to travel without permission and be security conscious.

Brig. Gen, Ibrahim further urged them to keep up their exemplary behavior and remain diligent, disciplined and maintains their matured disposition as they serve our great country Nigeria in the FCT.

However, the prospect of NYSC is quite reassuring as beyond national unity, several enduring people-oriented Community Development Service projects executed by Corps members dot the landscape, nooks and crannies of the country and more are unfolding through the creative initiative and ingenuity of youth Corps members as part of their patriotic contributions to national development.

Finally, for NYSC to succeed, corps member safety has to be taken seriously. This is especially true because the national service scheme by design separates corps members from the safety nets that Nigerians have to come to rely on; their families and communities. Since corps members are considered ‘government Children’, we should expect that the safety of corps members be given particular priority.


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COVID-19InsecurityNYSC