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Osorhor Ogenevwegba Michael
Delta state polytechnic otefe oghara ( DESPO )
Graduate, Nigeria.
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LAGOS – In his Independence Day anniversary broadcast on October 1, 1972, General Yakubu Gowon, then Nigeria’s Head of State, announced plans for the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

Thus, on May 22, 1973, the scheme was established through Decree 24. The Decree, now an Act of the National Assembly, specifically stated that the NYSC is established “with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of National Unity.”

The service corps commenced operation on June 4, 1973, and six weeks later, on July 2, 1973, the 2,364 graduates pioneer participants were called up to commence service.
Forty-six years down the line, the NYSC has been meteoric in growth, size, operation and indeed accomplishments pursuant to its mandate.

From 2,364 at inception, the scheme now mobilises over 300,000 participants yearly. As at 2018, 4,071,581 Nigerian youths have participated in the scheme.

In the same vein, the scheme has, in over four decades of its existence, extensively impacted positively on every aspect of Nigeria’s socio-economic development.

Over time, the NYSC has become the pace-setter in expanding the horizon of Nigerian youths, providing the platform for them to interact with their contemporaries from different parts of the country. This has orchestrated long-lasting bonds of friendship and built bridges across cultural divides.

Indeed, NYSC has become a pivot of national unity as several inter-tribal marriages have been contracted as a result of exposure of youths to the service corps.

Similarly, many corps members have settled in the states they were deployed to serve, having pulled down the barriers of ethnic suspicions and unfounded stereotypes resulting from first-hand experience of other cultures.

In addition to driving national integration, NYSC members supplement manpower deficiency in the nation’s academic institutions, health facilities, MDAs and contribute to infrastructural growth in the country through construction and rehabilitation of roads, bridges, etc, both in the urban and rural areas.
NYSC has continued to renew and make itself indispensable through evolving policies and programmes that have clearly identified it as a foremost institution and vehicle for driving national unity and development in the country.
The introduction of the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship programme into the service year remains very impactful. As an antidote to the widespread youth unemployment problem in the country, the NYSC skill acquisition programme is designed to give corps members the opportunity to learn vocational skills of their choice right from the orientation camp and through the service year, to prepare them for self employment at the end of their assignment. Presently, corps members are exposed to vocational training at the orientation camp in agro-allied, automobile, construction, cosmetology, culture and tourism, education, environment, film and photography, food processing/preservation, horticulture and landscaping, information and communication technology and power and energy.

In addition to this, through public private partnership, NYSC has completed the building and equipping of a 1,000 capacity integrated skills acquisition training centre in Gombe State and another in Ekiti State. The centres, are to be replicated in each of the six geopolitical zones to enhance the training.

Apart from the introduction of SAED programme, the Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers (HIRD) is among the innovations of the scheme to enhance healthcare delivery and its relevance in national development.

The intervention programme was launched in 2014 and serves as a platform through which the scheme contributes towards addressing the health challenges of rural dwellers who experience difficulty accessing health facilities across the country.

According to Mrs Adenike Adeyemi, the Director, Press & Public Relations, “Under the programme the Scheme carries out an annual nationwide week-long medical outreach. From the inception of the programme to date, over 500,000 rural dwellers have been treated by the NYSC medical teams. Through this intervention, the scheme, in conjunction with Grace Projects International, donated over 300 wheelchairs to the less privileged/physically challenged members of the public across the country.

“Apart from the centrally coordinated outreaches conducted simultaneously nationwide, each NYSC state formation also mobilise the Corps Medical Teams to conduct periodic outreaches to various communities,” she added.

In line with the government’s policy to diversify the economy, NYSC which ventured into agriculture in 1985, has started reinvigorating and upgrading its agricultural projects with the establishment of Integrated Farm Settlements in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country. Four of them located in FCT, Bauchi, Kebbi and Oyo States are already operational, equipped with modern farm implements and corps lodges. A number of corps members who served in these farms have taken up farming as a profession due to the practical experience they gained and are now contributing to Government’s objective of actualising self-sufficiency in food production.

The scheme is also partnering with many government and nongovernmental organizations in many frontiers to catalyse development. The NYSC/SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) project is aimed at creating public awareness on policies and programmes of the government in relation to the SDGs, using trained Corps Volunteers as Development Knowledge Facilitators. The ultimate goal is to ensure that Nigerians become informed participants in the process of attaining sustainable National Development.

In furtherance of the efforts to encourage corps members to embrace skills and entrepreneurship for self-reliance, Adeyemi said the scheme with the support of the Federal Government floated a programme tagged ‘War Against Poverty (WAP)’. It seeks to empower corps members with agro-enterprise skills and interest-free loans for employment and wealth creation, eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, and boosting agricultural productivity for national food security which are in tandem with some of the SDGs. At the end of the training, corps members are empowered with interest-free loans ranging from N200,000 to N300,000 and repayable over 30 months. So far, over 5,000 corps members have been fully empowered and are doing well as agro-entrepreneurs.
Speaking on collaborations, she said NYSC is also collaborating with Mercy Corps, an international humanitarian organisation, on a programme, tagged: “Engaging Nigerian Girls in New Enterprise (ENGINE)”.

According to her, the programme provides after-school tutorials in Mathematics, English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Basic Science, Hausa Language, Financial Education and Life Skills to girls in secondary schools.

“Following its successful piloting in Kaduna, Kano and FCT, the programme has since been extended to Lagos, Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, Kebbi, Sokoto, Adamawa, Borno, and Gombe states.

On election duty, she stated that the scheme has a subsisting MoU with the INEC for the participation of Corps Members as ad hoc staff of the electoral body in the conduct of elections. The MoU which is reviewed from time to time gives prominence to the safety of Corps Members and outlines the conditions to be met by the government, INEC, security agencies and other stakeholders before Corps Members are drafted to participate in any election. It is on record that the participation of Corps Members has improved the credibility of the electoral process.

In line with the goal of the management to expand the NYSC SAED programme through greater stakeholder involvement, the scheme is partnering with Cognity Advisory which is coordinating a group of telecom, banking and other multi-national giants to enhance the SAED entrepreneurship training, mentorship and funding options. They include Sterling Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank, Samsung, Globacom, Airtel, Kwese/Lflix Nigeria. They are also to undertake capacity building training, career guidance, job search, basic entrepreneurship and employability training geared towards the reduction in youth unemployment.


The partnership with the European Union and the Pan African Institute for Global Affairs and Strategy (PAIGAS) is another programme evolved to address a major national challenge. It is aimed at checking, through proper enlightenment, the increasing number of Nigerian youths involved in dangerous illegal migration to Europe and other parts of the world in search of greener pastures. Given that most youths that embark on these dangerous trips abroad do so due to misinformation or lack of adequate information, the corps volunteers trained by PAIGAS have taken the awareness campaign to their peers in their respective places of primary assignment and institutions of learning. Indeed, the gains have started manifesting with the decline in the figures of youths embarking on such journeys.

To address the challenges of insecurity and ensure the general welfare of corps, the Management consistently and continuously pursues initiatives in this direction. The Scheme has been liaising with various security agencies to ensure the safety of Corps members wherever they are serving in the country.

Further to this, a Distress Call Centre (DCC) was established by the Scheme domiciled in the National Directorate Headquarters. The centre is equipped with communication facilities that are manned 24 hours daily to ensure a timely and well-coordinated response to calls from Corps members who find themselves in a distressed situation, through contact with the nearest offices of security agencies and other key stakeholders at critical times in addition to the production of Security Tips booklets issued to all Corps members. The document contains easily digestible tips, which help to keep them off the harm’s way
The coming on board recently of Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, an accomplished scholar and consummate administrator as the new Director-General is no doubt a positive vista in the fortunes of the service corps.

Source www.independent.ng/nysc-at-46-its-successes-challenges/amp/
Nysc At 46: Its Successes, Challenges - NYSC

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