Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The federal government has offered automatic employment and scholarship up to the doctoral degree level in any Nigerian university to 110 former National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members who excelled during the 2018 and 2019 service years.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who announced this yesterday at the virtual 2018/2019 President’s NYSC honours and award ceremony held at the State House in Abuja, also announced cash rewards for the ex-corps members.
He directed the relevant government agencies to ensure timely implementation of all the incentives for the award recipients.
Urging the honourees to sustain the patriotic zeal that earned them the award, the president said: ‘‘It is noteworthy that the young men and women being honoured have excelled in the four cardinal programmes of the scheme namely: Orientation Course, Primary Assignment, Community Development Service and Winding-up/Passing-out, which formed the basis of assessment for the honours’ award.
‘‘On behalf of the government and the good people of Nigeria, I heartily congratulate those honoured for standing out from their peers in order to merit the honour being bestowed upon them.
‘‘You have proved yourselves worthy ambassadors of your respective families and the National Youth Service Corps. I am very proud of you and confident that the award shall spur you to greater service to the country and humanity.’’
Buhari stressed that NYSC has remained the bastion of national unity and integration by exposing the youths to diverse cultures and traditions, thereby making them appreciate Nigeria’s similarities and diversities.
According to him, ‘‘Through the scheme, walls of ethnic stereotypes are pulled down, and bridges of unity built, especially with enduring friendships and relationships resulting from healthy interactions during the service year. These have strengthened the mileage covered in our quest to be a country with one common vision and destiny despite our plurality.”
On efforts to sanitise the mobilisation process of the scheme, the president directed the NYSC management to ensure that only those who meet the required criteria participate in the one-year national service.
Buhari praised Nigerian youths on national service for frontally confronting and remaining at the forefront of the war against COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that the inherent innovation and resilience of Nigerian youths, which members of the service corps demonstrated through the production of face masks, hand sanitizers, liquid soap, and several fabricated machines, contributed towards curtailing the spread of the pandemic.
‘‘The enormous contributions members of the Corps are making to the improvement our education, health and social sectors as well as rural development remain a shining testament to the scheme. This has portrayed successive generations of Corps members as veritable agents of development,’’ he said.
Commending the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and NYSC for the dogged implementation of the self-reliance programme of the government for the youths, the president urged them to sustain the tempo of their activities in this direction.
‘‘It is critical that our youths benefit from the N75billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund. They should also be encouraged to key into other youth empowerment programmes of the government such as Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative, Youth Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria, Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme, and Young Farmers Scheme among others,’’ he said.
Declaring that his administration has abiding faith in the Nigerian youths, the finest part of which Corps members belong, Buhari said he had demonstrated this belief by signing the ‘Not too Young to Run’ bill into law, so as to accommodate youths in the political landscape.
‘‘I wish to remind our youths, who have the greatest stake in the future of our country, Nigeria, and of course the generality of Nigerians to embrace our initiatives on value reorientation, as this is essential for the achievement of a country we shall all be proud to bequeath to future generations,’’ he said