President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja pledged that his administration would take all necessary actions to maintain and improve the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme, as a functional vehicle for the promotion of national unity and integration.
President Buhari gave the assurance after receiving a briefing from officials of the Federal Ministry of Youth Development led by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Rabi Jimeta.
The President affirmed his confidence and trust in the programme, saying that the objective for which the scheme was established in 1973 was still very relevant for national development.
“I firmly believe in NYSC and I think it should remain a national programme to promote integration.
“Whenever I go home to Daura, I look out for Corps members from Lagos, Aba and other parts of the country.
“I am always thrilled to learn that except for the NYSC, some of them have never left their states of origin to visit other cities in the country,” President Buhari said.
In her brief, Mrs Jimeta told the President that the increasing number of NYSC participants posed a challenge to the scheme due to the dwindling revenue, from the national budget, to cater for their needs.
She told the President that the annual enrolment of corps participants had increased from 2,364 at inception in 1974 to 229,016 in 2014.
“Given the increasing number of tertiary institutions, our projection is that the number of corps participants may rise to 300,000 by year 2020,”’ she said.
The Director-General of NYSC, Brigadier-General Johnson Olawumi, told the President that there were plans to make the scheme voluntary and reduce the corps population to make the programme more sustainable.