Growing fears that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) will not be able to mobilise all qualified graduates for the Batch B of the 2016 scheme, have been allayed by the Director-General, Brigadier Sulaiman Zakari Kazaure.
Kazuare said that though the NYSC has financial constraints, which would have affected the mobilization of all prospective corps members, the Federal Government had given it a marching order to ensure that no qualified graduate was left out.
To meet the government’s directive, Kazaure said that the NYSC will operate two streams between now and January next year to cater for all corps members.
So far, 170,000 graduates have registered for the Batch B of the 2016 scheme, but the NYSC disclosed that the Federal Government budgetary allocation to the agency will only cover 86,000 eligible members, and a special appeal has been made to the government for an intervention fund to ensure that all the corps members are mobilised.
Kazaure expressed delight that President Muhammadu Buhari was favourably disposed to the request, adding that in the last six months, the President had severally intervened on issues affecting the NYSC, especially the mobilisation of corps members.
At a media parley with senior editors in Abuja on Wednesday, Kazaure gave room to top officials of the NYSC to respond to some topical issues.
The Corps Director of Mobilisation, Frank Ekpunobi, explained that when the online registration for Batch B was closed on Tuesday, a total of 170,000 eligible corps members had completed the exercise.
Kazaure said: “In the past few weeks, the NYSC has been in the news over its presumed inability to mobilise all qualified prospective corps members for the 2016 Batch B service year. As much as there is always public interest in the affairs of the scheme, the NYSC is prepared as always to mobilise all qualified graduates for the next service batch.”
“However, it must be emphasised that as a budget dependent organisation, the scope of our activities is facing financial constraints like every other government agency in the present recession.
“In the 2016 Budget, provision was made for the mobilisation of a total of 210,000 corps members. However, the figure for the 2016 Batch A and Batch B has more than doubled in original projection. We have appealed to government for a special intervention grant to mop up the exercise of this figure. So far, we have received the green light from the relevant government agencies to prepare for the mobilisation of all qualified prospective corps members,” he said.
Kazaure said that the limited capacity of orientation camps in the country would necessitate the conduct of the exercise in two streams, beginning with November, while the second stream of the Batch B will be mobilised in January 2017.
On the collaboration of the NYSC with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Director-General noted that the partnership has recorded a huge success, adding that the participation of corps members in the elections has raised the high sense of transparency and commitment in the country’s democracy.
He noted that the NYSC management will continue to sensitise its corps members on the need to maintain neutrality, honesty and commitment in the discharge of their election duties.
He added that the Corps has intensified efforts to improve on the welfare of its members, adding that it has recently increased the dividend of its insurance policy to members who lose their life in service to N1m since 2011, stressing that it has also initiated a policy where it offers employment opportunities to relatives of death corps members as well as compensation.