NYSC DG meets Media Executives,others ,as Orientation course resumes

The Director-General of National Youth Service Corps,Brig.Gen Shuaib Ibrahim on Monday had interaction with Media Executives and Correspondents in Abuja over the recent announcement on the orientation camps reopening.
The media chat had in attendance Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)Dr.Chikwe Ihekweazu,Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists NUJ FCT council, Comrade Emmanuel Ogbeche,and Vice Chairman,Nigerian Institute of Public Relations,NIPR FCT chapter, Mr Stanley Ogadigo who represented the NIPR Chairman.
Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC),Dr.Chikwe Ihekweazu
Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists NUJ FCT council, Comrade Emmanuel Ogbeche
Read the speech in full :
I am pleased to welcome you to yet another interaction with our esteemed friends and partners in the media. Let me begin by acknowledging the critical roles the media has continued to play in the operations of the NYSC since its inception. Indeed, our partnership with the Fourth Estate of the realm has been fruitful in the light of the extensive coverage and publicity accorded the programmes of the Scheme over the years. I, therefore, use this occasion to once again express our profound gratitude over the unquantifiable support we
are receiving from you.
2. Today’s event is in line with my administration’s policy of sharing with you relevant information that will enable you get the correct perspectives on issues affecting the Service Corps. I thank you most sincerely for honouring our invitation.
3. In its over four decades of existence, the NYSC has been discharging its mandate creditably despite the challenges of the operating environment. As with other Agencies of Government, the activities of the Scheme were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the situation also presented opportunity to once again assert the continued relevance of the Scheme and the critical role of our youths in driving national development, especially with proper harnessing of their knowledge, skills and talents.
4. It is pertinent to remind all and sundry that the NYSC, in partnership with other bodies, played significant role in controlling the spread of the HIV/AIDS and combating the
Ebola Virus Disease. The responsiveness of the Scheme to prevailing national needs has
been brought to light again with our role in the current battle to contain the Coronavirus pandemic. Driven by the high premium we place on the welfare of Corps members and our
Staff, we took the proactive step of suspending the 2020 Batch ‘A’ Stream One Orientation Course to avert the spread of the virus to our Orientation Camps. The camps were also prepared for use as Isolation Centres in furtherance of our contributions to the overall
efforts to control the pandemic.
5. It would also be recalled that while the nation was on lockdown, the Scheme remained very visible as we harnessed the talents of Corps members for various interventions. Apart from the Corps Medical Teams that provided health care services in
various health facilities, other Corps members made their impact felt through mass production and donation of face masks, antiseptic liquid soaps and hand sanitizers through the FCT Administration and State Governments all over the Federation.
They equally fabricated and donated automatic and foot-operated water, liquid soap, hand sanitizer dispensers and disinfection chambers in several States. Their interventions also included
donation of food and other palliative items to indigent persons,sensitization of the public on infection prevention and control measures, decontamination of public premises and the conduct of free virtual teaching lessons nationwide for students in exit classes of JSS3 and SS3.
6. The Scheme is pursuing its mandate under the “new normal” imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, Corps members have continued to carry out their
responsibilities in their places of Primary Assignment and through community service.
They have also been participating in the execution of important national programmes. I am proud to report that they gave a good account of themselves as INEC ad hoc personnel during the recent governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States. It is pertinent to point out that in conducting all our operations, we have always ensured strict compliance with the COVID-19 prevention protocols.
7. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, following the ease of the COVID-19 lockdown and the green light from the Presidential Task Force for NYSC to make preparations for safe resumption of our Orientation Course, the Scheme has been working in liaison with the
NCDC to achieve the desired outcomes.
As you are already aware, the Orientation exercises will resume on 10th November, 2020, starting with the 2020 Batch ‘B’ Stream 1A. As at
Thursday, 5th November, 2020, a total of sixty-six thousand (66,000) eligible graduates had been mobilized for the 2020 Batch ‘B’ Service Year. They will all participate in the Orientation exercise, which has been planned to take place in three streams for ease of compliance with the COVID-19 protocols. The dates for the three Streams are as follows:
i. Stream 1A Tuesday, 10th to Monday, 30th November, 2020;
ii. Stream 1B Thursday, 3rd to Tuesday, 22nd December, 2020; and
iii. Stream 2 Tuesday, 5th to Monday, 25th January, 2021.
Already, we have put in place essential measures in all Orientation Camps nationwide in line with the protocols for the safety of Corps members and other members of the camp community. The measures, which have been endorsed by the NCDC during its inspection of
the Camps, include:
(a) Testing of Prospective Corps Members (PCMs) and Course officials for COVID-19
by NCDC Officials before admission into the Orientation Camps;
(b) Provision of hand washing points with adequate supply of water, liquid soap and sanitizer at strategic locations in all the camps;
(c) Limiting to a manageable size, the population of participants of each stream of the Orientation exercise;
(d) Spacing of hostel beds in line with the prescribed physical distancing rule, and for improved ventilation;
(e) Arrangement for staggered reporting of prospective Corps members to camp and increase in the number of registration points;
(f) Compulsory usage of face masks by all persons in the Orientation camps;
(g) Strict observance of COVID-19 protocols in all camp activities;
(h) Strengthening of the Camp Clinics to ensure sustained monitoring of body temperature of all course participants;
(i) Fumigation and decontamination of the camps; and
(j) Assigning of cleaning teams to carry out continuous cleaning of toilets and decontamination of frequently touched surfaces such as door and tap handles.
8. Given the importance of adequate enlightenment, a strategy for sensitization of the camp community on COVID-19 protocols has been developed in conjunction with the
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Information Officers of the Scheme have also been trained to ensure its proper implementation.
The communication strategies include:
(i) Face-to-face sensitisation of Corps members, course officials and camp market vendors;
(ii) Sending of bulk SMS to Corps members;
(iii) Airing of jingles at the Camp Broadcasting Stations;
(iv) Display of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials and banners; and
(v) Establishment of COVID-19 and other Infectious Diseases Awareness Vanguard and training of volunteers.
We are committed to ensuring that these measures are strictly implemented with all members of the camp community complying with the established guidelines.
9. I wish to use this opportunity to thank the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control for their support and guidance that led to the approval of resumption of Orientation activities. I also appreciate the NCDC for donating Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worth millions of Naira for usage in all our Orientation Camps, training of Staff and Corps Members on COVID-19 safety protocols as well as organising a Webiner interactive session with prospective corps members.
This gesture will go a long way in enhancing the success of our efforts towards safe conduct of the Orientation Course. Our gratitude also goes to the Victims Support Fund for the donation of sixty thousand (60,000) PPE and other materials to the Scheme. I want to
assure you that all the items donated will be utilized for the intended purpose.
10. At this juncture, I wish to assure Nigerians that all our children, who will participate in the forthcoming Orientation exercises, will be adequately protected from the
Coronavirus. I enjoin both serving and prospective Corps members to avoid the use of the Social Media for misrepresentation of facts on issues concerning the Scheme. Please, do not hesitate to communicate your concerns on any issue to the camp administrators, using the channels made available for such.
11. I consider it appropriate to also remind all and sundry that, while we are focusing on safe conduct of the Orientation Course, we equally remain unwavering in our resolve to
preserve the credibility of the Mobilization process. In this regard, our fool-proof measures are still in place to ensure that only qualified persons participate in the Orientation Course.
I, therefore, wish to warn unqualified persons who are contemplating appearance in our camps to have a rethink in their own interest as we are poised to apprehend and hand
them over to the appropriate agencies for prosecution.
12. The recent attacks on some of our camps by some disgruntled elements, who carted away valuable items, were condemnable. Let me, therefore, appeal to the general public to support the Scheme by protecting its facilities against vandalization.
13. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I am glad to inform you that despite the prevailing challenges, we have remained focused on actualizing the vision of the present Management. To this end, we are taking innovative approaches that will promote the
success of the Scheme and enhance our relevance, including but not limited to the following:
a. Welfare and Security of Corps members Like I have assured at various forums, the welfare of Corps members remains a top priority
of my administration. Amongst other measures to ensure their general wellbeing, we have intensified liaison with Security Agencies to ensure their safety wherever they are serving in the country. Our advocacy visits to the Police high command, Military authorities, the Department of State Services and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps ensured
that no Corps member was harmed during the Governorship elections in Bayelsa, Kogi, Edo and Ondo States. I use this opportunity to again express our gratitude to the Security
Agencies and other stakeholders for their support. Furthermore, the Scheme has concluded arrangement with the National Health Insurance Scheme for the enrolment of
Corps Members into the NHIS in line with a Presidential directive. We have also expended huge resources on critical health needs of Corps members, including footing of medical bills.
As part of the outcomes of our welfare initiatives, Nurudeen Tahir, the Corps member who lost his arm in a road traffic accident in Taraba State, has been discharged after a successful clinical procedure on the usage of the smart prosthetic arms procured for him by the Scheme. He has since been formally handed over to the Kano State Government and his parents after successful completion of the National Service. May I use this opportunity to
thank the State Government for giving him automatic employment, and for formally affirming its commitment to following up on his welfare, including the servicing and
maintenance requirements of the prosthetic limbs.
b. Reinvigoration of the NYSC Ventures
We are working towards harnessing our revenue generation potential through the reinvigoration of the various NYSC Ventures. Consequently, the NYSC Water Factory and the NYSC Bakery both located at the Permanent Orientation Camp, Kubwa, FCT, are fully
back on stream with their products being patronized by the public. In the same vein, the operations of the NYSC Farm Settlements across the country are being enhanced, especially with supply of equipment and other necessary inputs. The farms, including the mega ones
located in the FCT, Bauchi, Kebbi, and Oyo States, will contribute to the Federal Government’s effort towards ensuring food security as well as serve as grounds for training
of Corps members. Presently, we are harvesting rice in our sixty hectare rice farm in Saminaka, Shanga Local Government Area of Kebbi State.
We are also determined to optimize the operations of the NYSC Garment Factories located in Minna, Niger State and Mgbaku, Anambra State. Our plan is to also intensify the training of Corps members at the factories and to ultimately produce the required quantities of all
NYSC kits there.
The garment production will also be an avenue for contribution to the
local content strides of the Federal Government.
c. Revitalization of the SAED programme
On my assumption of duty, I affirmed my commitment to making the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) Programme more functional. To match words with actions, Management has taken several steps towards reinvigorating the SAED including, but not limited, to the following:
• Renewal of commitment by NYSC and the Bank of Industry towards resuscitation of the empowerment of Corps entrepreneurs with business loans under the BOI-NYSC Graduate Empowerment Fund (GEF). Intensive monitoring of the GEF beneficiaries is also being carried so as to achieve the desired outcomes;
• New collaboration with NIRSAL Microfinance Bank on empowerment of Corps entrepreneurs;
• Hosting of 2020 NYSC SAED Stakeholders meeting aimed at reviewing the programme implementation strategies as well as strengthening of existing
partnerships and exploring new ones for further technical and material support;
• Pursuing the completion of the North West Skill Acquisition Centre in Kazaure, Jigawa State, which is now at advanced stage;
• Commitment to ensuring that construction of the North Central Skill Acquisition Centre in Keffi, Nasarawa State is executed within reasonable time; and
• Research-based collaboration with Obafemi Awolowo University and National Centre for Technology Management (OAU-NACETEM) sponsored by a Canadian
Agency, International Development Research Centre on evaluation of the impact of SAED and reinvigorating it for greater impact.
d. Contribution to the implementation of the SDGs
The Scheme is playing a prominent role in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the NYSC/SGDs Project, which is aimed at creating
public awareness on policies and programmes of Government in relation to the SDGs.
With trained Corps members volunteering as Development Knowledge Facilitators, the ultimate
goal is to ensure that Nigerians become informed participants in the process of attaining the SGDs in line with the global agenda for development. Following, a Presidential pronouncement affirming the Federal Government’s determination to further engage the
Scheme in the SDGs implementation, we are more than ever before ready to give our best in this regard.
e. Role of the NYSC in the implementation of the Mambilla Power Project
I am pleased to inform you that the NYSC is part of the Technical Working Group saddled with securing local content workforce for the Mambilla Hydro-Electric Power Project.
While appreciating the Federal Government and the Senate Committee on Local Content for
the confidence reposed in the Scheme, I want to assure of our commitment to contributing
towards achieving the desired outcomes, including harnessing the abundant skills of Corps members for effective implementation of various aspects of the project.
f. Production of NYSC Movies (NYSCwood)
In furtherance of our policy on harnessing their potentials, Corps members have been engaged as the main cast in our movie titled ‘A Call to Service,’ which is currently under
production. Apart from its entertainment function, the movie is being packaged as a tool for
public sensitization on the roles of stakeholders in the Scheme. These stakeholders include the various tiers of Government, Corps Employers as well as serving and prospective Corps members, as spelt out in the NYSC Act. Ultimately the film will promote better understanding by the publics of the Scheme on their role expectations. Recently, NYSC also
made contribution to voter education through the production of another movie clip titled “The Return”. The movie sensitizes Nigerians on the need to shun violence during
g. Establishment of NYSC National Cultural Troupe
The establishment of NYSC National Cultural Troupe is another initiative that will provide a veritable platform for Corps members to develop their talents in drama and cultural
performances while also enjoying public support towards harnessing such talents through patronage. In addition, the Troupe will also shore up the revenue base of the Scheme
through its activities which will be commercialized. We are also proud of the growing popularity of the NYSC National Band, especially with its performance at important
national events. I use this opportunity to call on members of the general public to patronize
the NYSC Band and Cultural Troupe to add colour to their ceremonial events.
h. Reactivation of Ceremonial Passing-out for Corps Members
Following the remarkable improvement in the security situation of the country, Management sought and got the Federal Government’s approval for the resumption of
elaborate Winding-up and Passing-out activities for discharged Corps members after several years of suspending same. Accordingly, the Passing-out ceremony of the 2019
Batch ‘A’ Corps members was marked with colourful parade nationwide thereby increasing
the visibility of the NYSC. However, the prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a return to the conduct of low-keyed passing-out activities. We shall resume
the ceremonial conduct of programme as soon as the appropriate authorities give the nod
for same.
i. Successful Conduct of the 2019 NYSC Sports and Cultural Festivals
The NYSC Sports and Cultural Festivals serve as one of the avenues through which the
Scheme promotes national unity, our cultural heritage as well as showcases the abundant
talents of Corps members in the areas of sports and culture. The Festival was last held in 2018, but revived by the present Management, which hosted the grand Finale from 3rd to 6th March, 2020 in Abuja. Necessary measures have also been put in place to ensure that it
is held annually so as to sustain Management’s efforts at showcasing the talents of our youths and provide them opportunities for employment in the sports and entertainment
14. I wish to use this opportunity to thank the Federal Government for its support to the Scheme, especially through provision of resources for the smooth conduct of our
operations. In particular, we appreciate the gesture of Mr. President in approving the
increase of Corps members’ allowance to thirty-three thousand Naira in line with the new National Minimum Wage. This is a morale booster for the Corps members, and they will continue to do their best in the service of our fatherland. Our appreciation also goes to the
Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, NYSC National Governing Board, Chief
of Army Staff, other Heads of Security Agencies and our other numerous stakeholders for
their unwavering support.
15. In conclusion, I wish to remind all that with the annual mobilisation of over 300,000 Corps members, NYSC no doubt remains most critical platform for mentoring Nigerian
youths as drivers of national unity and development. Therefore, I solicit the continued support of all stakeholders for success of the Scheme’s mandate of preparing them for this all important national assignment. The manpower needs served by the Scheme through
deployment of Corps members is very critical to national development. While thanking Corps Employers for their support, I equally appeal to them make maximum utilization of
their potentials.
16. Once again, I thank the media for the support given to the Scheme over the years. It is our hope that you will not relent as we continue to take our partnership to greater heights
for the good of our country.
17. Thank you and God bless.

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