Solomon Dalong, Minister of Youth, Sports and Social Development, said on Tuesday in Lagos that the Federal Government would sustain the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) scheme.
Dalong stated this when he paid an official visit to the NYSC Orientation Camp at Iyana-Ipaja, in Lagos State.
He said, ” I will stand for the sustenance of the scheme and that it should continue to grow. What we need to do now is introduce skills acquisition, empowerment; we need to now repackage the scheme.
At the level of the Federal Government, we are thinking of after the mandatory one year service, those who want to learn a trade, skills acquisition and entrepreneurship can be retained and be given more training. Our graduates are enlightening minds, whatever you teach them, they will survive with it. So a grant will be given to them at the end to start off and train other people. he said.
Dalong charged the NYSC to install a high tension illuminating light at the camp, to ensure adequate security.
“You should have high tension Illumination at the camp, as soon as possible. If you have over 2,000 Nigerians in a place like this, you should have a perfect illumination due to the present security challenges in the country. I am impressed with what I have seen on ground at the camp; the facilities are good, I am satisfied,’’ he said.
Dalong also charged the NYSC to renovate all existing orientation camps in the country.
He said it had become very important for the camps to be upgraded to accommodate the increasing number of graduates that would be expected for the scheme.
“So as you embark on renovation, put it in mind that more people will be using the facilities. I am saying this because I do not know when we will get a new orientation camp, but we are sure that we will have more students passing out of the tertiary institutions. When we started this scheme, we never planned for what we have now. Nigeria did not plan to have the number of graduate we have today, so the whole concept of NYSC would have started with permanent structures. The visionaries of the scheme did not anticipate that the scheme would live this long, after the civil war.” the Minister said.
Brig. Gen. Johnson Olawunmi, Director-General, NYSC, while conducting the minister round the camp, said it had five boreholes which served over 200 rooms.
Olawunmi said the budget of the corps was reduced from N1.7 billion to N227 million between 2013 and 2015.
He said the corps was facing serious challenges following the reduction by the past administration.
“We pay Security about N180 million yearly to secure all the orientation camps in the country out of the budget and we are left with little or nothing to run our programmes.
We have even reduced the camp to two batches, because of lack funds.” he added.