From Bello Wakili (Abuja)

President Muhammadu Buhari has offered automatic employment to 110 ex-corps members in the Federal Civil Service and scholarships for the pursuit of post-graduate studies up to doctoral level in any university in Nigeria.

Speaking at the virtual 2018/2019 President’s National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) honours award ceremony held at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja, President Buhari, also announced cash rewards for the ex- corps members.

He directed the relevant government agencies to ensure timely implementation of all the incentives for the award recipients.

The President urged the honourees to sustain the patriotic zeal that earned them the award.

President Muhammadu Buhari also used the occasion to commend the founding fathers of the 48-year-old scheme, notably General Yakubu Gowon, who joined the occasion virtually.

He stressed that NYSC has remained a bastion of national unity and integration by exposing the country’s youth to diverse cultures and traditions, thereby making them appreciate similarities and diversities.

On efforts to sanitise the mobilisation process of the Scheme, the President directed NYSC management to ensure that only those who meet the required criteria participate in the one-year national service.

President Buhari praised Nigerian youths on National Service for frontally confronting and remaining at the forefront of the war against COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that the inherent innovation and resilience of Nigerian youths, which members of the Service Corps demonstrated through the production of face masks, hand sanitizers, liquid soap, and several fabricated machines, contributed towards curtailing the spread of the pandemic.

Commending the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and NYSC for the dogged implementation of the self-reliance programme of government for the youths, the President urged them to sustain the tempo of their activities in this direction.

He pointed out that it is critical that the country’s youths benefit from the N75b Nigeria Youth Investment Fund.

President Muhammadu Buhari said they should also be encouraged to key into other youth empowerment programmes of Government such as Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative, Youth Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria, Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme, and Young Farmers Scheme among others.

Declaring that his administration has abiding faith in the Nigerian youth, the finest part of which Corps members belong, the President said he had demonstrated this belief by signing the “Not too Young to Run” bill into law, so as to accommodate youth in the political landscape.

President Buhari also urged Nigerian youth to avoid all economic and social vices that are contrary to the wellbeing and progress of the country, admonishing them to adopt a collective approach, premised on sound values to build a great nation.

A highpoint at the combined Presidential Honours Award was the reading of citations of the best awardees for each service year.

For the 2018 set, Anyaogu Onyeyirichi Rejoice, who emerged first, served in Taraba State.

Anyaogu won the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) Award for the Best Female Corps Member in Community Development.

Dr. Eze Sunday Victor, who served in Jigawa State, came first in the 2019 set while Odion Jessica Eseohen took the 2nd position in NCWS Award for Best Female Corps Member in Community Development.