By Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole
The Director General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Shuaibu, has warned that in order to prevent a possible outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in different orientation camps, participants of the 2020 orientation will be restricted to camps for 21 days.
“Once a Corps member is tested and cleared to go into the camp, there is no coming out until after the 21-day period. Even our own staff after testing will not be allowed to come out because we don’t know where they will go to. They are to remain in camp for the whole period”, the DG stated during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja Monday.
He said that the orientation exercises will resume Tuesday starting with the 2020 Batch ‘B’ stream 1A with a total of 66,000 eligible graduates mobilized for the 2020 Batch ‘B’ service year.
According to him, the exercise has been planned to take place in three streams for ease of compliance: Stream 1A 10th to 30th November 2020; stream 1B 3rd to 22nd December 2020, and stream 2, 5th to 25th January 2021.
Brig. Gen. Shuaibu assured parents and guidance of the safety of their children and wards.
“I wish to assure Nigerians that all our children, who will participate in the forthcoming Orientation exercises, will be adequately protected from the Coronavirus.
“The scheme has concluded arrangement with the National Health Insurance Scheme for the enrolment of corps members into the NHIS in line with a presidential directive”, he said
On the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme, Shuaibu said the scheme is opening channels through which corps members who are entrepreneurship oriented can source loan for capital to start their own business ventures.
He added, “On my assumption of duty, I affirmed my commitment to making the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) Programme more functional.
‘’To match words with actions, management has taken several steps towards reinvigorating the SAED including, but not limited, to the following: Renewal of commitment by NYSC and the Bank of Industry towards resuscitation of the empowerment of Corps entrepreneurs with business loans under the BOI-NYSC Graduate Empowerment Fund (GEF).
‘’Intensive monitoring of the GEF beneficiaries is also being carried so as to achieve the desired outcomes and a new collaboration with NIRSAL Microfinance Bank on empowerment of Corps entrepreneurs.”
The DG added that the corps is working towards harnessing its revenue generation potentials through the reinvigoration of the various NYSC Ventures.
Also speaking at the event, the Director General National Centre for Disease Control NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, emphasised the need for a compulsory text for all corps members and NYSC officials and emphasised strictly adhere to the Presidential Task Force (PTF) Covid-19 prevention protocols.
“A compulsory screening test to be carried out for all Corps members, officials and vendors on arrival at the orientation camps using an antigen-based rapid diagnostic test kit approved by the World Health Organisation”, he said
He was very pleased that despite the huge challenges posed by the pandemic, orientation camps were going to reopen again adding, “I am very excited that despite the constraints of the pandemic, we have found a way, collaboratively, to ensure that NYSC orientation camps across the country can reopen safely.
‘’And this has been in consultation with NYSC authorities and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF-COVID-19) are working very hard to facilitate the safe conduct of the 2020 NYSC orientation camp activities.”
The NCDC boss said that “readiness assessments have been conducted across NYSC camps to ensure that all camps meet the key performance indicators (KPIs) of COVID-19 preventive measures and are ready for safe opening.”