The newly appointed director-general of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Mohammed Fada, assumed office on Wednesday.
Mr Fada, a Brigadier-General from Yobe State, took over from the 18th director-general, Shuaibu Ibrahim, at a handover ceremony in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.
Speaking on Wednesday during the ceremony, he promised to maintain the legacies of his predecessors.
He said: “The outgoing NYSC DG has left a very big shoe for me to fill and I hope to work hard to fit into it. For all the ongoing projects, I will ensure that they get completed. All his legacies will be maintained.”
Mr Fada advised the staff of the scheme to cooperate with him and not to indulge in shady deals and immoral activities including gossip. He said with their cooperation, the scheme can be taken to greater heights.
He reiterated that he would work hard to maintain the dream of the founding fathers of the scheme, which he said was targeted at uniting the country.
On his part, Mr Ibrahim urged the new director-general as well as the staff of the scheme to ensure that they make the welfare and protection of the corps members their priority.
He also urged the staff to extend their support to the new DG just as he said they did for him. He added that the new DG and the staff should always call on him anytime they needed his support.
The outgone DG
Mr Ibrahim from Nasarawa State took over from S.Z. Kazaure in 2019 and served for three years.
During his tenure, he faced multiple challenges which included the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in 2020, which grounded the programme for many months.
Under the watch of Mr Ibrahim, NYSC also had a fair share of the degenerating security situation in the country.
In September, 2021, the scheme was ridiculed on social media for advising staff and corps members to prepare for ransom when plying certain routes it described as “high risk.”
The NYSC handbook, which is titled; “Security Awareness and Education Handbook for Corps Members and Staff,” on page 56, advised both corps members and (and staff) travelling on “high-risk” roads to alert their “family members, friends and colleagues to have someone on hand to pay off the ransom that could be demanded” in case they are kidnapped.
The document lists such roads to include “Abuja-Kaduna, Abuja-Lokoja-Okene, or Aba-Port Harcourt” roads
The development led to the calls by many Nigerians that the scheme should be scrapped, while others suggested that it should be made optional for Nigerian graduates.
NYSC was created on May 22, 1973 as an avenue for the reconciliation, reconstruction, and rebuilding of the nation after a civil war that spanned more than three years.
The military regime of General Yakubu Gowon had established NYSC based on Decree 24 which states that the scheme was created “with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of national unity.”
Upon its creation, graduates of universities and later polytechnics have been required to take part in the programme for one year, as it enhanced cross-cultural interactions.
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