Ilorine, Kebbi, Ado-Ekiti And Akure — Once more, the 39-year-old National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) churned out a set of young graduates Thursday who had completed the mandatory service to their fatherland. They had their passing out parade yesterday and joined the long winding queue of their predecessors in the choked labour market.
As usual, many of the corps members had varied experiences. While many won medals, others suffered some sanctions. In Kebbi State, for instance, eight corps members posted to the state absconded during their service year. The director of NYSC in the state, Mr. Joe Etwutu, disclosed this yesterday during the passing out parade of 1,249 2011 Batch 'B' corps members. According to him, the absconded members would have to repeat their service in the state before they could be awarded their certificates.
He announced that nine corps members had their service year extended for various offences ranging from refusal to report at their primary assignment posts and travelling out of the state without permission, among others.
Ten members, however, won the state government award for diligent work, while 16 others received commendation certificates from the state's deputy governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Aliyu. Etwutu advised the outgoing corps members to be of good behaviour and not to indulge in crime as they go into the world. The state's deputy governor praised the corps members for their good behaviour during their service year and promised that government would engage some of them.
But the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, charged graduates of the scheme to take full benefit of their training under the Skills
Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme of the NYSC by creating employment opportunities for themselves and becoming employers of labour. Amosun congratulated the corps members for the successful completion of their national service and commended them for creditably discharging their duties and obligations to their fatherland.
The Ogun State Coordinator of NYSC, Mrs. Teresa Anosike, urged the graduating members "to go out there, add value to the Nigerian society and make the world a better place." She expressed her profound gratitude to the government of Ogun State for its moral and financial support to the state NYSC.
In Kwara State, 10 corps members who distinguished themselves in community development service projects were also presented with state awards. Also, 12 corps members were sanctioned for allegedly flouting the NYSC bye-law.
The Chairman, Governing Council of NYSC and state Commissioner for Youths and Sport, Mr. Anthony Towoju, disclosed this in Ilorin at the passing out ceremony of the 2011 batch "B" corps members posted to the state. Towoju also said six corps members were awarded with certificates of merit and four were given commendation letters.
He added that some of the projects executed by the corps members included construction of a Corpers' Lodge in Kosumonu, Edu Local Government Area, establishment of a skills acquisition centre and information and communication technology centre at Chikanda in Baruten Local Government Area and construction of a six-room modern toilet and two urinaries in Ilo-Offa Grammar School, Oke Ero Local Government Area, among others.
He stressed that the corps member who emerged the best in the batch, Dawodu Kehinde, constructed a four-room Corpers' Lodge apartment at Kosumonu from his allowance and assistance from the council authority, the community as well as Kosumonu Elite Group. Also speaking, the state coordinator of NYSC, Mrs. Ngozi Ezekwe, said a total of 1,979 corps members, made up of 1,161 males and 818 females, served during the batch B 2011 in the state.
But in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, came the report that corps members staged a protest over the non-payment of their allowances for three months. The protesting corps members made their feelings known during the passing out parade ceremony, held at Christ's School playing ground in Ado Ekiti, where 1,871 corps members participated in the ceremony. Four members had their service extended for various breaches.
Those who most suffered the non-payment of allowances were members who served in the public primary and secondary schools across the 16 local government areas of the state. But as a mark of solidarity, other corps members whose allowances had been paid, joined their protesting colleagues to demonstrate their disapproval.
However, NYSC Director in the state, Mr. Tunde Baba-Ahmed, appealed to the state government to redeem its pledge that the money would be paid into the accounts of the corps members. While pleading with the former corps members to exercise patience, Baba-Ahmed pleaded with the government to pay directly to NYSC or the concerned corps members rather than pay through the school principals. The state director suggested a monthly payment scheme instead of the present quarterly scheme, as a way of avoiding defaults.
The state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who was represented by the speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Adewale Omirin, praised the corps members for their contribution in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the state and urged them to be creative enough to face the challenges ahead.
For absconding from their primary posts, a dozen corps members of the 1,990 who participated in the Batch B service in Ondo State were ordered to repeat their service. The coordinator of the state NYSC, Mr. Isiaka Kuoye, announced the sanction during their passing out ceremony in the state.
However, another dozen corps members were given commendation, while eight others who distinguished themselves in various ways in the course of the programme were nominated to receive state awards. "As we encourage, recognise and reward hard work and excellence, so also do we frown on indolence and poor performance in line with the NYSC Act and Bye-law," he said.
He, however, said majority of the corps members had proved to be good ambassadors of the scheme. Kuoye noted with regret that four of the corps members died during the service year and prayed for he eternal rest for their souls. Governor Olusegun Mimiko in his farewell speech admonished the corps members to shun all forms of vices and make up their minds to be the pride of their country.
Mimiko, who was represented on the occasion by the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr. Yekini Olanipekun, said the NYSC scheme has proved to be a veritable and enduring vehicle for effective youth mobilisation in addressing critical issues of national integration.