Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) By Albert OGRAKA–
The end to the continued rejection of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) graduands from participating in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is not near, as the Director-General of the NYSC, Brigadier-General Johnson Olawumi, has disclosed that the National Universities Commission (NUC) is yet to act on the request made by NOUN.
Brigadier-General Olawumi, who disclosed this during the flag-off of the 2016 NYSC Annual Management Conference at Asaba, Delta State, on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 said the NYSC cannot admit NOUN graduands into the national service except with the express approval of the NUC.
He noted that the NYSC management has no jurisdictional competence in matters of who to mobilize or exclude from the scheme as that was purely the responsibility of the Federal Government and relevant agencies like the National Universities Commission (NUC).
He further revealed that the National Youth Service Corps is yet to receive a response from the National Universities Commission on the request of the National Open University of Nigeriia.
Meanwhile, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Scheme has introduced a new measure to strengthen the machinery for ensuring the safety of all corps-members serving in any part of the country with the introduction of electronic devices which enables the NYSC to receive alert from any corps-member in distress situation.
In this regard, special toll-free numbers or codes have been issued to corps-members to enable them live and work safely anywhere in the country with the confidence that help would speedily come to them when in distress.
Olawumi also disclosed that appropriate response was still being awaited on a proposal he sent to Federal Government to allow for mobilization of graduates for the mandatory national service to be quarterly in order to accommodate the greatly increased current number of corps-members.
The director-general noted that with the current figure of “close to 250,000 graduates mobilized annually, which might hit the 300,000 mark in no distant future”, up from 2,364 when the scheme began in 1973, the present intake of graduates three times a year was no longer realistic.
Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, who declared conference open, sued for concerted effort among the stakeholders to help the scheme overcome its operational challenges against the backdrop of the large number of graduates the scheme now caters for as well as other external factors militating against it.
Okowa, who was represented by the secretary to the state government (SSG), Mr Festus Ovie Agas, noted that the challenges that corps-members had faced in recent time, especially in the light of the current security situation in the northeastern parts of the country, could not be over-stressed.
The governor described the NYSC scheme as “success story” in the country in its over 40 years of existence, saying the orientation of the corps-members should now be slanted towards self-employment while the respective governments create the enabling environment.
“I believe the NYSC has been a success story in this nation despite the challenges that we have. It is one scheme that has brought unity, enabled our youths to be exposed to various states in the nation and has served as a stabilizing tool for our nation”, Okowa noted,
Earlier, during a courtesy call by the NYSC Director-General, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa advocated for a system that would encourage young graduates to “acquire skills while they are in camp to enable them to be engaged in agriculture and other self-sustaining skills.”
In his introductory address, the Director, a planning, Research and Statistics, Mr Akinolu Trmitope Ajayi, gave insight into the objective and design of the conference.
Ajayi said, “The theme of the conference, “Strengthening the operational strategies of the NYSC Scheme for Effective Youth Management”, is very profound an cannot come at a better time most especially in view of the fact that the operations of the Scheme are affected by the political, socio-economic and other dynamics of the society. It is, therefore, intended to generate ideas and formulate strategies with the aim of enhancing productivity and service e delivery for the effective of our youth.”
Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr Baba Usman Alkali, Commander of 61 Airforce Detachment Warri, Air Commander A.D. Dudusola Hcief Judge of Delta State, Justice Marshal Umukoro and Professor Temi Akpohonor of Delta State University Abraka were among the special guests who attended the opening ceremony at the Grand Hotel Asaba.
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