By DAVID IORJA, Abuja –
President Muhammadu Buhari has described the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme as a laudable one that needs to be sustained as it affords the opportunity for Nigerian youths to understand the country better.
“People come from far and wide; some from Victoria Island in Lagos have not even been to Ikeja. They now find themselves in Daura and other parts of the country. Whenever I go to my town, I get in touch with members; some of them from Lagos, some from Port Harcourt,” he stated.
President Buhari who said this Thursday in Abuja while playing host to corps members who came on a thank-you visit to him, also praised General Yakubu Gowon for the initiative, his Special Adviser (Media & Publicity), Femi Adesina, said in a statement.
“Whenever I meet General Gowon up till today, I thank him for initiating the NYSC. It is a nationalist and patriotic thinking that led to the development of the scheme,” he added
Four members representing others countrywide came to convey their “deepest gratitude” to the President over the recent increase in their monthly allowances from N19,800 to N33,000.
According to them, “the implementation in January, when we least expected it brought tears of joy to us as we had doubts of the promises earlier made.”
“You have demonstrated that you are a loving and caring father committed to the welfare of his children,” they added.
They also reiterated their commitment to do their best during their period in the scheme. “The increase is a wake-up call to us to show more commitment to the affairs of our fatherland. We are great stakeholders in our collective determination of building a prosperous and united Nigeria, the future belongs to us.”
The NYSC members were led to the State House by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare and the Director-General of the scheme Brigadier-General Ibrahim Shehu.
Ibrahim had last week announced that the monthly allowance of corp members had been increased to N33,000.
Ibrahim announced this during a working visit to the NYSC secretariat in Bauchi, according to a statement the body issued on Wednesday morning via Facebook.
He said the increase is in line with the new minimum wage approved by the federal government.
Ibrahim said provisions for the new allowance have been made in the 2020 budget and “payment would commence as soon as funds are released by the appropriate authorities”.
In September, Ibrahim had hinted that the monthly allowance of corps members would be increased “immediately the federal government starts the payment of the new minimum wage”.
“Your monthly allowance would be increased immediately the Federal Government starts the payment of the new minimum wage to all public servants nationwide,” he said in an address delivered at the NYSC orientation camp in Iyana-Ipaja, Lagos.
“Efforts are in top gear at all levels to ensure adequate welfare for all corps members.”
Sunday Dare, the minister of youth and sports development, also confirmed the increase although he did not provide details.
President Muhammadu Buhari signed the new minimum wage bill into law in April 2019.
Federal civil servants and some states have started implementation, adjusting the salary scale.
(with additional report from TheCable)