By Katurak Yashim
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has urged unvaccinated corps members to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 1, in compliance with the Federal Government directive.
Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, the NYSC Director-General, made the call at the Swearing-In Ceremony of the 2021 Batch ‘C’ Stream I set of corps members at the NYSC Orientation Camp, Kubwa-FCT, on Tuesday.
Ibrahim said that complying with the directive would prevent corps members from being turned away from government establishments, once it takes effect.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on Oct. 14, the federal government declared Dec. 1, as the deadline for civil servants to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Civil servants will from Dec. 1, be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result before gaining access to their offices.
Ibrahim, who was represented by Mr Suleiman Abdul, the NYSC FCT Coordinator, urged the corps members to get vaccinated as the rules may apply to them in the course of their primary assignments.
“As you may be aware, the FG has announced plans to make a presentation of evidence of COVID-19 vaccination by civil servants as a prerequisite for gaining entry to public offices from Dec. 1, 2021.
“I, therefore, encourage those of you who are yet to take the vaccine to do so without further delay as the rule could apply to corps members in places of primary assignment.
“A greater significance is the fact that the vaccine will keep you safe. We are already in touch with relevant authorities with the view to ensuring that the vaccines are made available to you in the course of this programme.
“I commend the efforts of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, whose support and guidance to the scheme have continued to facilitate the safe and efficient conduct of the orientation course amidst the pandemic.”
Ibrahim said that the NCDC particularly, has continually made available Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits and sensitisation materials for usage in all orientation camps.
Ibrahim also commended the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), the TY Danjuma Foundation, state ministries of health, federal and state tertiary health institutions for their support in the area of COVID-19 prevention and general health services.
He said that as a launchpad for the service year, the orientation course was to prepare corps members physically and mentally for their contribution to the progress and development of the country.
Ibrahim said that it was also to equip them to realise their potential.
“Highlights of the camp activities will include lessons on the four cardinal programmes of the NYSC; leadership coaching, paramilitary drills, and other physical training.
“You are expected to avail yourself of the unique opportunity by participating actively in all the aforementioned programmes.
“The scheme deliberately posts corps members away from their states of origin to broaden their understanding of the country for effective contribution to the promotion of national unity and integration.
“I urge you to ensure healthy interactions, exchange ideas and build a lasting friendship to advance the progress of a united Nigeria.”
The director-general cautioned corps members against use of drugs, engaging in cultism and other social vices.
Besides, he advised them to use social media only for the promotion of national unity and other positive purposes.
The director-general reiterated the need for corps members to be security conscious and avoid putting themselves in harm’s way.
Ibrahim also urged them to utilise the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme of the scheme to enable them to become self-reliant and not rely on whitecolar jobs.
“It is no longer news that whitecolar jobs are hard to come by, for this reason, the empowerment of corps members for self employment and wealth creation has been a major area of focus for the scheme since 2012.
“You will have that opportunity. I am happy to inform you that many of your predecessors who embraced the entrepreneurship training of the scheme are now successful business owners.
“I urge you to stay off the long queue of job seekers by choosing from the various skills set and participating fully in the training sessions.”
He assured that the scheme would continue to work with relevant stakeholders including financial institutions to enable them to actualise their business dreams.
NAN reports that 2,041 Prospective Corps Members (PCMs) were sworn-in at the Kubwa orientation camp.
The Chief Judge of the FCT, Justice Baba Hussain, who was represented by Justice Chizoba Orji, officiated the ceremony.
The orientation course is scheduled to hold from Oct. 20 to Nov. 9. (NAN)