President Muhammadu Buhari on August 5, Wednesday, in Abuja has unveiled his plans for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Nigerian leader promised that his government will take all required actions to maintain and improve the programme as a functional vehicle for the promotion of national unity and integration.
Buhari made the pledge after receiving a briefing from officials of the Federal Ministry of Youth Development led by Rabi Jimeta, the permanent secretary.
He affirmed his confidence and trust in the NYSC, adding that the objective for which the scheme was constituted in 1973 was still very applicable for national development now.
The president said: “I firmly believe in NYSC and I think it should remain a national programme to promote integration.
“Whenever I go home to Daura, I look out for Corps members from Lagos, Aba and other parts of the country.
“I am always thrilled to learn that except for the NYSC, some of them have never left their states of origin to visit other cities in the country.”
On her own part, Jimeta told President Buhari that the increasing number of NYSC members posed a challenge to the programme due to the decreasing revenue, from the national budget, to provide their needs.
She told Buhari that the yearly enrolment of corps participants had increased from 2,364 at inception in 1974 to 229,016 in 2014.
“Given the increasing number of tertiary institutions, our projection is that the number of corps participants may rise to 300,000 by year 2020,” she said.
It should be noted that the NYSC scheme was created in a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian Civil war.
The unfortunate antecedents in Nigeria’s national history gave impetus to the establishment of the programme by decree No.24 of 22nd May 1973 which stated that the NYSC is being established “with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of national unity”.