Lagos – President Goodluck Jonathan says he will not subscribe to calls to scrap the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, established in 1973 to foster national unity.
The President made this known in Lagos at an interactive session with the Nigerian youth to flag off activities to culminate in the inauguration of his fresh term of office on May 29
Jonathan said that there were plans to reform the scheme to achieve the goals for which it was established.
“The NYSC is a programme that is helpful to the Nigerian youth. It encourages integration and create environment for youth to move out of his domain to learn other cultures.
“I am a beneficiary of the scheme because many of my friends today, I met them during my service year.
“I will therefore not subscribe to the call that I should scrap the NYSC. We already have plans to make the scheme to be more functional, practical and profitable,” Jonathan said.
T have been calls for the scrapping of the scheme, following the death of some corps members in some parts of the North during the post election violence.
The President also said that in the next six months, he would present bills for the amendment of the Constitution.
Jonathan who was responding to a remark by the youth calling for a Peoples’ Constitution that will respect the identity of Nigerians, however, said that the review was to enhance the unity of the country.
He called on relevant stakeholders including the youth, to submit memorandum that will be useful in drafting the executive bills.
The President also directed the Minister of Finance to work on the modalities to make the $200 million Entertainment Intervention Fund accessible to the beneficiaries.
Jonathan gave the directive at the session after a representative of Nollywood actress, Rita Dominic complained that banks were making access to the fund difficult by demanding unrealistic collaterals.
“If we cannot access the fund, there is no point making it available in the first place. If the banks want to be more professional in its disbursement, we will look for a way to relax their demands,” the President said.
He thanked the youth for their role during the April general elections and dedicated the success and victory of the polls to all youths.
He assured them that they would be carried along in policy formulations and decision-making, particularly on issues affecting the youth.
Earlier, the President of the Nigeria Youth Council, Mr Olawale Ajani had identified corruption, power and job creation as the critical areas the President should look into as his new administration takes off on May 29.
Ajani also appealed to the President to appoint a young person as the Minister of Youth Development.
He said Nigeria should take a cue from Ghana which has a 27-year-old as a cabinet member.
Speaking in the same vein, the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Jude Imagwe, said youths should be allowed to take part in policies affecting them.
He hailed Jonathan for the various steps taken at reforming the education sector and assured him of students’ support.
Other speakers at the event called for the reform of the National Youth Service Corps to reflect the objectives of integration for which it was established.
They called for measures to protect lives of corps members wherever they are posted and to compensate adequately those who sacrificed their lives during the April polls.(NAN)
Source : www.vanguardngr.com