The Director-General of the National Youth Service Corp, Brigadier-General Johnson Olawumi, has warned potential corp members to be upright, saying the full weight of the law will be brought to bear on anyone who procures fake medical papers for the purpose of effecting redeployment.
Speaking at a media parley in Abuja, Brigadier-General Olawumi, while acknowledging the security challenges in some parts of the country, said cases of relocation will be treated strictly on merit based on marital, health and security grounds.
The NYSC DG, who announced that Batch B orientation of corp members, will commence in the first week of August with 96,000 graduates participating, also noted that the Youth Service Corp remains committed to ensuring the development of rural areas in all ramifications.
Nigeria needs to establish a one stop shop of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) retooling center if the Software Industry in Nigeria must be developed.
The former President, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria, Dr. Chris Uwaje, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Business Morning, said that the educational system has a lot of role to play if the industry would grow to the desired level.
He maintains that there is need to build the local content in the industry and that the youths should be encouraged to be innovative.
Local software industry is said not to be growing at the pace it ought to, at least when compared to that of other developing nations.
Nigeria’s Software Industry is said to be potentially a 6 billion dollar industry and can surpass the contributions from the oil industry, especially as the software industry is not a capital intensive sector.
However, the potentials that abound in the industry are yet to be tapped.
The National Youths Service Corps says corps members will not be forced to serve in the three north eastern states currently under emergency rule.
The Director General of NYSC, Brigadier General, Johnson Olawumi made the clarification when he appeared before the National Conference Committee of Civil Society, Labour and Youth.
He said the agency had taken a decision not to send any corps member to the three affected states unless the request to be posted to any of the states comes from the corps member.
The DG said, “We have stopped sending corps members to the three troubled states in North-East under emergency rule. Surprisingly, some still demand to be posted there . But nobody is forced to go there.”
He said there was no way the agency would stop those demanding to be posted there, adding that the embargo on the three states would continue until security improves there.
Olawumi also spoke on areas the agency is making use in order to make the corps members self reliant after their one year service.
This, he said, included skills acquisition and entrepreneurship development programme which he said had been established in all states and Abuja to train corps members.
Some other committees also took presentations from government officials while some say they have completed their work.
The chairman of the National Wages and Salaries Commission also appeared before the committee on public finance. He touched on the issues of salaries, especially that of lawmakers in the national assembly.
Most of the committees say they have completed their work while some are optimistic they will finish on time.
Skilled and developed human capital are the only ways to create jobs and forge inclusive growth in Nigeria.
This is according to a Human Capital Development Expert, Mike Adeleye, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Business Morning.
According to him, considering the environmental hygiene situation in Nigeria, there are over 500,000 Bio-Chemistry; Biology etc. combined graduates unemployed, who can be trained on basic health, safety and food hygiene as public health workers leading to job creation.
He also suggested the need for Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) Sure-P programme to replace the NYSC to create employment and save costs and tax payers’ money.
He believes funding from the GIS Sure-P would create between 500,000 to over 1 million jobs.
This comes as Nigeria prepares to host the 24th edition of the World Economic Forum on Africa, with the theme; Forging Inclusive Growth and Job Creation .
The Gbegande of Ososa, in Ogun State, Dr. Adetoye Alatishe, on Friday called on the government to pay close attention to the primary health centres in rural communities as citizens in those regions do not have access to the best services, owing to the dearth of medical professionals.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Mr Alatishe, who is a medical doctor by profession, said that “in the rural area, you find that there’s a dirge of professionals.”
According to him, indigenes of the rural communities who are medical doctors do not want to return to their roots for the purpose of practicing their profession but would rather seek more attractive offers in urban cities.
As a result of this, “I found myself helping out particularly when we have serious emergencies in the maternity ward.”
He recounted tales of occasions when he had to set aside his royal duties to attend to citizens as a doctor.
“There have been events where they had cases like retained second twin… a woman delivers in the traditional home and the second twin will not come out.
“You know this thing is not just by calling the baby to come out, you have to do some maneuvers and then they take them to the maternity centre in the town. I’ve had cause to go and help them get the second baby out.
Sometimes we have to do surgical procedures. I’ve had cases too when I had to get retained placenta as well out and so many other serious cases that nurses cannot handle.”
The traditional head who started his private practice in Ijebu Ode but had to relocate to Ososa on a smaller scale, said that his subjects were pleased with his actions.
“I believe it has tremendously assisted the people a lot.”
Speaking on the roles of traditional heads in ensuring the success of primary health care in their locality, he advised traditional heads to be more interested in the health system. “You have the right to ask professional practicing in your villages, various towns: show me your certificate. Where did you graduate?”
Before being crowned ‘Oba,’ Alatishe was the pioneer executive secretary of Primary Health in Ogun state. Invariably, I’ve had cause to give lectures to the Obas at the Oba Council in Ogun state and I know that this is one of the things I actually told the Obas.
He stated that there are about 400 primary health centres but that majority of the doctors in local government are engaged in administrative duties and so “they don’t have time to attend to patients.”
He called on the government to look into the issue of medical personnel at the rural health centres.
“It’s always a good thing to establish health centres, but what do you do with it thereafter, apart from putting equipment what about personnel? You can’t get doctors to work in rural areas and this is something that the government really has to do something about.”
The Oba had taken the initiative to build a doctors’ quarters as a way of attracting hired doctors to stay but stopped the plan to make the government appreciate the efforts being made.
Asked about the relationship between traditional rulers and the local government, Mr Alatishe said “an average council chairman will tell you there’s scarcity of funds. I don’t think Ogun state is an exception.”
He further commended the Rivers State and Lagos State governments for their efforts in supporting grassroots projects.
He stressed on the need for both modern and traditional medical practitioners to collaborate in order to ensure that citizens at the grassroots are catered for.
He suggested that medical doctors in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) must be enticed with “serious incentives” to draw them to serve in the rural areas.
Despite the several allegations that many electoral officers who officiated during the Anambra State governorship election were corrupt, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Nigeria has insisted that they were of ‘high integrity.’
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, the Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, Kayode Idowu warned that “people should be careful about making sweeping generalisations.”
He also said that it is expected that other electoral officers are suspected once someone is caught but “there are people of integrity in the institution.”
“I do know that the people that handled the election in Anambra State are people of high integrity but one bad apple spoils the basket.”
He added that more than 60 per cent of the electoral officers were not permanent staff of INEC as the POs (Poll officers) were corp members of the National Youth Service Corps.
He denied allegations made by APGA that the electoral officers posted to Idemili North were sent there to foil the whole process.
Vice chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Professor Vincent Tenebe, has decried the low enrolment of students from the northern part of the country into the institution compared to their southern counterparts.
At a news conference in Kaduna, Professor Tenebe lamented that despite the flexibility in the admission process of the university, the northern region is yet to make use of the opportunity, adding that only a few number of students from states in the north are studying in the institution.
NYSC for NOUN Graduates
The Vice Chancellor also called for review of the law establishing the National Youth Service Corps(NYSC) to enable graduates from NOUN participate in the mandatory national youth service scheme since all its programmes are full time and accredited by the National Universities Commission(NUC).
He used the opportunity to authenticate the certificate of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who graduated as a theological student from the university.
Professor Tenebe described the former president as a “very troublesome but brilliant student.”
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega on Monday said that the commission has investigated and prosecuted over 200 persons who allegedly breached the electoral laws. Mr Jega, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, accused Nigerian politicians of always seeking to ‘jump the gun’ during elections. He said INEC has done its best in checking this trend.
“I want to say categorically, we have done or best. We have prosecuted over 200 people successfully,” he said.
He said some of the electoral offenders, including members of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) and INEC staff have been fined or jailed. “Before our commission was inaugurated, there was no record of a single successful prosecution of electoral offences,” Mr Jega said.
He said though the number represents a drop in the ocean, the commission had reasons to prosecute about one million people over multiple registrations.
“On registration alone, we do have evidence to prosecute close to a million people for clear cases of multiple registrations,” he said. He said the commission lacks the resources and personnel to prosecute all these offenders.
Mr Jega said INEC is currently working on how to relinquish the responsibility of prosecuting electoral offenders to another agency.
He said, “We are partnering with the NBA (Nigerian Bar Association), in fact, we have been discussing this partnership and now we are taking it a level higher and our hope is that before we commence the process of continuous voters’ registration, which we hope will commence by the third quarters which is July – September God willing, we also want to make example of those who have done multiple registration.
“We will do it, but it is very challenging. The best thing is to have another agency that can actually handle prosecution of electoral offenders.”
Mr Jega said managing logistics during elections is a major problem that INEC have been contending with for a long time insisting that the commission has done its best to minimise this challenge.
He said, “I want to assure you that globally, there’s no country where you can say it is 100 percent free of this challenge of late arrival of materials.”
He said since he assumed office, the commission has been partnering with the security agencies to hasten the deployment of materials to areas with troubling terrain.
“Where it is necessary to move material by aircraft or helicopter, the navy helped us during the 2011 elections. Where it was to move it in the riverine areas the navy helped us and even provided security to minimise challenges arising from the activities of militants groups,” the INEC boss said.
He said INEC devised a strategy of deploying materials to areas far from the city centre before deploying to closer areas but that this, as it happened in the recent Edo Council polls, has its own challenges.
He said the commission has reduced the incidences of late arrival of material to election venue by about 60 percent since 2011.
Mr Jega maintained that staggered elections are not the best for Nigeria, saying that the series of staggered elections in the country resulted from court judgments which affected tenures of some governors.
He said, “Certainly, some staggering helps the process. The kind of staggering we have now in terms of saying this kind of elections should take place now and then you sequence it; that kind of sequencing of major elections, I think has been helpful, it helps us to focus and it helps us to poll resources together and to deploy them appropriately.
He said, “But if you take staggering to a staggering extent, if I can put it that way, really it will also have its own challenges. It means for example if we have to every election state by state in all the 36 states and the FCT it will take us three years.
“If you are doing Presidential election for example, you have to do it nationally and in every place because the results have to be announced for a candidate to be returned.”
Mr Jega said conducting staggered election has its limitation and insisted that what is important is for INEC to have the independence of deciding when to conduct a holistic or staggered election.
“If you legalise it by saying do elections state by state or do election region by region, you will create additional problems which are not presently anticipated,” he said.
The INEC chairman said the commission at the moment does not have any legal bottleneck and is not hindered from seeking innovative methods of conducting its operation even with the use of technology.
“The only clear categorical hindrance is in electronic voting. The law says categorically that electronic voting is prohibited and until that prohibition is lifted we even have challenges in terms of experimenting and piloting or getting some machines and beginning to see which are the best that can be used for electronic voting are,” he said.
He said the commission had sent a recommendation to the National Assembly that as they review the 1999 constitution to “look at that provision and perhaps remove that prohibition. So that once it is removed we may not be able to do it in 2015 but we can begin to experiment and identify which models are suitable to Nigeria.”
Permanent Voter Card
Mr Jega said before the 2015 general elections, INEC will distribute permanent voters’ card to all registered voters in Nigeria.
The voter cards are to replace the temporary ones issued at the end of the voters’ registration in 2011. The cards are valid for 10 years.
Last year, the Federal Government approved N2.6 billion for the printing of 40 million out of the 75 million permanent voter cards in the first phase of the project.
The government has approved additional N33.5 million for the project’s second phase.
Mr Jega said “the permanent voter cards are chip-based carrying all our biometrics that was captured during the registration.
“We intend on election day to use a card reader to verify and to authenticate who is the true owner of that card. We believe that once we are able to do this successfully, then all these phenomenon of politicians purchasing voter cards and giving it to other people to come and vote with it on Election Day will be eliminated.”
The INEC chairman said all registered voters must vote at the point where they have registered.
Mr Jega disclosed this in response to a question tweeted-in by a lady who was watching the live programme on Channels Television from Abuja.
However, when a voter relocates, Mr Jega said “the electoral act clearly specifies what to do. You can change or transfer your registration status. All she needs to do in her case is to apply to the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the FCT giving all the necessary information why she has moved, what were the details of her previous registration, what was her polling unit and where is she now located.
“Once she does that application and it is verified, her details will be transferred to her new place and then we will issue her a permanent voter card in the new place.”
A total of 518 corps members have successfully completed their 2012 batch B service year in the troubled Borno and Yobe States north-east of Nigeria.
At a low key passing out in the two states, Borno recorded 308 corps members while Yobe had 138 members.
At the ceremony in Maiduguri the Borno State capital,Governor Kashim Shettima commended the “courage and dexterity” of members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) for their desire to serve in the state despite the security challenges that forced most corps members to redeployed to other states of the country.
For the exhibition of such courage by the 380 corps members that passed out in Maiduguri, N2.35 million was doled out to the corps members as each of them got N10, 000.
Governor Shettima was represented at the ceremony by the chairman of NYSC governing board in the state, Hajiya Maryam Bukar Abba Ibrahim.
The Borno State coordinator of NYSC, Alhaji Suleiman Shiitu Morai reveals that there was a sharp drop in the total number of corps members to have served in the state from 1, 516 to only 380 passing out, indicating a decrease of 74.7 per cent in NYSC participation and Orientation.
The statistic according to him further reveals that number of females corps members have also surpassed their male counterparts, as a total of 253 of them served, as against only 127 male corps members.
In Yobe state, the NYSC discharge certificates were presented to corps members at the five major towns of the state an event that was supposed to take place in Damaturu the state capital while in Maiduguri, the low-key ceremony was performed at the federal secretariat instead of the usual Kano Road Orientation Camp that can accommodate up to 2, 000corps members at a time.
Corps members were given the option of either serving in the two states or seek redeployment because of the incessant attacks by the dreaded Islamists; the Boko Haram.
Out of 2,400 members of the National Youth Service Corps in the Batch A deployed to Kano State, about 900 of them have been redeployed to other states due to the current security challenge in the commercial city.
The state coordinator of the NYSC in the state, Salisu Yakasai, made this known during the closing ceremony of the Batch A orientation exercise.
The corps members were relocated because of the recent suicide bomb attacks in the state with the latest being the attack at Sabon Gari Luxury Bus Park in Kano city.
Traumatised by the recent attack at the bus park, majority of the fresh graduates sort to be relocated to other parts of the country considered safer for them.
According to Mr. Salisu, the remaining 1,500 corps members would be redeployed to the rural areas of the state as they are relatively safer.
Meanwhile, the state Deputy Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has charged those who stayed back to harness the various job opportunities offered to them in the state, promising that government would do everything to ensure their safety.
Legal Practitioner, John Oloyede said on Thursday that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Scheme has not outlive the puprose for which it was created.
My Oloyede, who was speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily advices the Federal Government to retain the programme but make some modifications that will comply with the reality of the current security situation in Nigeria.