The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Foundation has said suspending NYSC Orientation Camp portends a ‘grave danger’.
There is a growing concern that not less than 60,000 Nigerian graduates may miss the Orientation Camp if the decision by Osinbajo led government committee is approved.
Recall that the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, suggested that the Federal Govt should suspend NYSC orientation camps for a period of two years due to COVID-19 social distancing protocols.
The report was compiled by a team of ministers – Finance, Budget & National Planning, Industry Trade & Investment, State, Budget and National Planning, Labour and Employment, State, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Petroleum Resources, Group Managing Director, NNPC and permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office is aimed at proffering solutions in different sectors of the country’s economy post-COVID-19.
It was gathered that about 66,000 candidates who are due to be mobilized for 2020 Batch ‘A’ Stream 2 will be affected if the policy is implemented.
However, the NYSC Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has urged the Federal Government (FG) to have a rethink before it approves a proposal to suspend the Orientation programme of the scheme for 2 years.
The Foundation’s Secretary, Mr. Ventim Bako, said that such action is fraught with ‘grave danger’, which can affect the capacity of corps members at their various Places of Primary Assignments (PPA).
The NYSC Foundation provides information, organizes programmes and executes projects for the NYSC Scheme. It also promotes the welfare of corps members, supports the activities of NYSC in various Orientation camps, provides soft loans to corps members to boost their infant business ventures, and also expose them to better job opportunities.
Bako maintained that the VP and members of the ESC must have offered the suggestion with the best of intention, which is to protect lives and also to contain COVID-19.
Below are his words;
“Within the context of the statutory mandate of NYSC and the activities that normally precede the deployment of corps members, we appeal to government to have a rethink about the proposal.
“This is simply because you cannot bring out fresh graduates from universities and polytechnics and just unleash them on the society for primary assignments.
“To deploy corps members to various places of PPAs without basic tools and the requisite training in an orientation exercise, is going to be a great disservice to the capacity of the corps members.
“This will certainly affect their capacity to deliver and perform efficiently,” the NYSC Foundation boss noted.
He added tthat the NYSC Director General, Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Shuaibu, has recently put in place a structure that encourages Corps members in providing supports services in managing COVID-19.
“We have seen the contribution of corpers in managing the coronavirus through fabrication of tools, production of face-mask and sanitizers while medical Corps members are actively engaged in hospital and medical facilities treating patients after their orientation training in the camps.
“There is no way the management of the Scheme will now allow its own Corps members to become vulnerable to the pandemic or to the society”.
The proposal which was submitted to the director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu in Abuja was part of the scheme’s preparedness for post-COVID-19 operations.
The proposal provides guidance and plan to create more Orientation Camps in the 36 States, while also staggering the Batches and Streams of camping activities.
The suspended 2020 Batch ‘A’ Stream 1 Orientation course would be completed when the scheme received the green light from the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19.