President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday pledged that his administration will take all necessary actions to maintain and improve the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme as functional vehicle for the promotion of national unity and integration.
Buhari gave the assurance after receiving 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 scheme, saying that the objective for which the scheme was established in 1973 was still very relevant for national development.
He said “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.”
Jimeta had informed the President that the increasing number of NYSC members was a challenge to the scheme due to dwindling revenue from the national budget to cater for their needs.
She also told the President that the annual enrolement of corps participants had increased from 2,364 at inception in 1974 to 229,016 in 2014.
She added that “given the increasing number of tertiary institutions, our projection is that the number of participants may rise to 300,000 by year 2020.”
The Director-General of NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Johnson Olawumi, also told the President that there were plans to make the scheme voluntary so as to reduce the corps population and sustain it.