The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has called on the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and media practitioners to allow the spirit of nationalism and unity to reflect in their reportage to promote peaceful co-existence in the country.
The Director-General of NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim made the call in Abuja on Thursday at the FRCN NUJ quarterly engagement journalists Colloquium Programme.
The programme titled: “The Role of the Media and NYSC in Nation Building and Cohesion” was organized by the FRCN NUJ, Abuja Chapel, and supported by NYSC.
Ibrahim, who was represented by the NYSC’s Director of Press and Public Relations at the Headquarters, Mrs. Adenike Adeyemi, said with 48 years of coming into existence, the scheme had come of age.
Ibrahim said the youth population was the engine room to propel the country to achieve all-around development.
He stressed that the activities of the Scheme from Orientation Camp, Primary Assignments, and Community Development Service/Projects to Passing out Parade instilled the spirit of unity and peaceful co-existence among youths from different backgrounds.
He regretted that some people complained about the scheme, adding that the country was far better in terms of unity, integration, and peaceful co-existence as a result of roles played by NYSC compare to when the Scheme was not in existence.
“Even when the COVID-19 Pandemic came, corps members were helping to do community work, producing hand sanitizer, and many others to move the country forward.
“Also the scheme prepares the youths for self-employment, leadership positions, and challenges.
“We train them on different skill acquisitions and link them to Bank of Industry, Agriculture, and others for loans to empower them.
“Please, don’t forget that Corps Members also impart knowledge and mentor children from primary to tertiary institutions in different parts of the country; and these children look up to them.
“I appeal to the NUJ and media, in general, to join hands with NYSC to promote nationalism, unity, and peaceful co-existence among Nigerians through patriotic reportage.
“This will help change the negative narrative about the scheme,” Ibrahim said.
According to him, the NYSC works in partnership with security agencies to identify where it is safe for corps members to be posted to, adding that they are posted to only safe areas.
Ibrahim maintained that he would continue to sustain the regular media parley with journalists, stressing that NYSC cannot afford to lose any of its corps members.
Speaking, the Director-General of FRCN, Dr. Mansur Liman, said that the scheme had contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of the country in enhancing unity.
Liman, represented by the FRCN’s Director of News at the Headquarters, Mr. Sani Suleiman, said that the scheme had been a great builder of all things lacking in the country.
Similarly, the Director-General of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Alhaji Yakubu Ibn Mohammed represented by Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar said the Colloquium Programme was timely.
“This is because it comes at a time that the unity of the country is facing a lot of challenges. The primary aim of NYSC is to promote national Cohesion and unity among different ethnic nationalities. “For the NYSC to relate with the media is a good omen. Irresponsible media is a problem to the unity of the country.
“We in the NTA will continue to promote national unity and togetherness,” Mohammed said.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Mrs. Ann Nwagu, said the theme of the Colloquium was apt.
She pledges FCT NAWOJ’s support to NYSC and FCRN NUJ, Abuja Chapel.
Mr. Solomon Adodo, the President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, noted that NYSC and the media were binding forces that keep the country together.
“I call on all stakeholders to ensure that NYSC is not tempered with. The scheme should be protected and the media too must be protected and defended.
“It is the duty of the youths to partner with the government to change the negative narrative and move the country forward,” Adodo said.
The Chairperson of FRCN NUJ, Abuja Chapel, Mrs. Sandra Udeike, says looking at the current situation in the country, the NYSC is needed now more than before.
Udeike said that the scheme had played vital roles in the country’s key sectors like education, agriculture, health, unity, peace, etc.
“That is why the NUJ FRCN Chapel deemed it necessary to have an interactive session with the Chief Executive of the scheme today.
The high point of the event was the presentation of the ‘Award of Excellence’ to Ibrahim for enhancing national unity. (NAN)