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By Princess Simon (Bureau Chief, North-Central, in Minna)

A total of 974 2021 Batch B, Stream 2 Corps members including, 519 male and 455 female deployed to Niger state have been sworn in for the one-year mandatory National Youth Service, with a warning to adhere strictly to COVID-19 protocols and guidelines.

The warning may not be unconnected with an incident during the last orientation course when Niger state government had raised the alarm about some corps members deployed to the state allegedly being infected and later quarantined.

Director-General (DG), NYSC, Brig-Gen Shuaibu Ibrahim, who gave the warning at the official swearing-in/oath-taking which took place at the Permanent Orientation Camp in Paiko, said the warning has become necessary to avoid a repeat of the previous scandal and as well expose the entire camp to the danger of COVID-19 infection.

“You must adhere to COVID-19 protocols, including insistent on testing prospective Corps members, Course officials, and visitors for the virus before admission into the Camp. Enforcement of physical distancing and wearing of face masks and provision of handwashing points at strategic locations.

“I call on the Camp community to ensure strict compliance with all prevention protocols throughout the duration of the Orientation period. I also encourage you to present yourselves for the COVID-19 vaccination whenever it is made available in or out of the Camp”, he said.

He also reminded all the Corps members of the need to exhibit a high level of discipline. “You must comply strictly with all Camp rules and regulations, and be obedient to Course officials to avoid appropriate sanctions on recalcitrant Corps members in line with the provisions of the NYSC bye-laws.

“The oath of allegiance, which you have just taken today, is solemn. I implore you to always find time to meditate over its spirit and letters, and be guided by same throughout the service year and beyond”.

Brig-Gen Shuaibu stated that the NYSC oath has influenced the guiding principles of many patriotic Nigerians, years after passing through the National Service, hence the need for them to familiarize themselves with the content of both the NYSC Act and the NYSC bye-laws”.

The increasing rate of graduate unemployment is of great concern to us as a nation, the DG said and encouraged them to avail themselves of the opportunities provided by the federal government’s training programs to become employers of labor and not job seekers after service.

Niger State Coordinator of the NYSC, Mrs. Funmilayo Ajayi, presided over the low-keyed ceremony strictly in line with COVID-19 protocols and presented the Director-General's address as well as declaring the Orientation Course open on his behalf.

Oath of allegiance was administered on the corps members by the Chief Judge of Niger State, Hon. Justice Aisha Bwari, represented by Hon. Justice Maimuna Aminu Abubakar, with Mrs. Bolade Omolayo Loto, the Director, North-Central office of the scheme also in attendance. NNL.