The National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) will never be scrapped or made optional for Nigerian youths who are below 30 years of age by the time they complete their undergraduate studies, the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr Sunday Dare, has made clear.
The minister made the clarification while responding to questions from journalists after presenting his ministry’s scorecard to the media at the National Press Centre in Abuja, yesterday.
According to the minister, the rationale which informed the establishment of the NYSC in 1973 by the General Yakubu Gowon administration, which was to promote unity among Nigerians, still remains subsists and cannot be done away with by Nigeria.
Dare explained that Nigeria, like any other country in the world, values the contributions of youths into the polity and would therefore not abandon the lofty ideals of the NYSC for any reason.
The minister said, “When General Yakubu Gowon and that government decided to come up with the idea of the NYSC, the central rationale was to promote the unity of Nigeria as the country was just coming out of the civil war and we have been singing the song that says though the tongue may differ in brotherhood and unity we stand. You know that the life wire of any nation is its youths and once their patriotism is captured, that can spread across.
“So, the rationale for bringing on the NYSC scheme by General Gowon up till now subsists. Every country and even Nigeria is still on a daily basis trying to promote its unity in diversity. And, with the strength of our youths, sending them to the different parts of the country, some of us have never been to the parts of the country where we served, never knew their cultures, never experienced them, never knew that they were even Nigerians up north or in the Southeast that you shared your common language or culture with,” Dare explained.
The minister also announced that necessary reforms were being put in place to end the era of fake NYSC certificate and remove the confusion as to those Nigerians in the Diaspora who should and should not serve in the scheme.
He said, “Reform is a constant thing and the NYSC is looking at some reforms because we have had some challenges with those that are in the Diaspora as to whether they should serve or not. There seems to be a bit of a misunderstanding. The NYSC is working to ensure that those areas that are fussy about the laws are made clear. It is either you are 30 years and you serve or you are above and you are exempted from the scheme.
“There is a solid database now because we have had cases of people collecting fake certificates and going forward one would have no doubt about the genuineness of the NYSC certificates they have. This is because we are going to produce the certificates with watermarks so that if you get a fake NYSC certificate you know that it is fake, and you would not need to wait ten years in order to discover that it is fake. You will discover the fake one immediately after you see it. Even now, if you don’t have an original NYSC certificate, it would be possible for us to know within five minutes because it would show up once we press the button from our end,” Dare stated.
The minister, who was asked to give reasons why the former Director General of the NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Fadah was removed, declined to give the reasons, but stated that Buhari does not want anything to stall the progress of the scheme, which was essential to the nation as a whole.
The minister also explained how thousands of Nigerian youths were evenly selected by his ministry to participate in various job openings and training programmes, so as to give them equal chance to take part in all the available opportunities as opposed to what was obtained in the past where a certain group of persons manipulated and used all available opportunities.
He said, “What we met on the ground was whenever there were opportunities to train our youths, the selection process was by word of mouth and by whom you know. That way, forms for employment and training opportunities were printed and given to a limited number of people and some of the forms hardly ever left Abuja. As a result of that process, there was a tendency for the same number of persons to benefit all the time from available training without any spread to others. But when we came, we decided to engage our youths online since they are tech-savvy.
“The online platform we are using gives everyone the equal opportunity of being selected and with their data taken at the same time for processing, using the chosen social media platforms. That is why when we did our recruitment over 3.9million youths applied from even some of the remotest villages around the country. Ordinarily, we would have just printed 200,000 forms and shared them and that would have been it”.
LGA Boss Vows To Deliver Fubara, Others In Rivers
The Chairman of Oyigbo Local Government Area in Rivers State, Hon. Akara Okechukwu, has reiterated that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would win all positions from governor to state House of Assembly.
He stated that the foundation of victory had been laid by the Governor of the state, Chief Nyesom Wike, following his infrastructure development successes in the state.
Okechukwu said this while reacting after the state PDP campaign team visited his area, last Saturday, saying that the people of Oyigbowere ready to reciprocate what the present administration has done for the LGA in every aspect.
“I have no fear, and I am convinced that the Governorship candidate of PDP Siminialayi Fubara and other state candidates of the PDP will win.
“The people of Oyigbo have vowed to vote massively for PDP because that is the only way to pay back Governor Wike for his good works, mostly in Oyigbo.
“As I speak, 95percent of people living in the area have their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), and this indicates sure victory for our great party. I thank the people for coming out enmasse for the campaign, I am really happy,” Okechukwu said.
Speaking, Chairman, Revenue Committee of the LGA, Senibo Daniel Chijindu, described the massive turn out as historic, saying that it was an indication of total victory.
“I will say that the massive turn out of people was historic because this is the first time people came out enmasse for campaign. Honestly, this is an indication that Oyigbo was ‘Simplified’ and was totally for PDP.
“Governor Wike has given Rivers State, a facelift in all ramifications. That is why Oyigbo people said they are for PDP in totality,” he said.
The revenue boss advised those who register for PVC should go and collect their PVC because that is only way to sustain the good governance of PDP.
Also speaking, former commissioner for commerce and industry and stakeholder of PDP in Oyigbo, Hon. Nancy Nwankwo, said adequate sensitisation has been done for the importance of PVC and vote PDP.
According to her, women in Oyigbowere already prepared to celebrate the victory of SiminialayiFubara come May this year, saying they come out enmasse to vote for PDP.
“I am convinced that SimFubara will do better hence he is civil servant. He has proven his intellectual capacity faithful and truthful to replace Governor Wike,” she said.
By: Tonye Orabere
NCDC Confirms 38 Deaths Of 123 Diphtheria Cases …Says Gaps In Vaccination Coverage Fuelling Outbreak
No fewer than 38 persons have died out of the 123 diphtheria cases recorded in Nigeria so far, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has confirmed.
The states currently facing the disease caused by serious infection of the nose and throat that is easily preventable by vaccine, are Kano, Lagos, Yobe and Osun, respectively.
The nation’s disease control and prevention agency, which disclosed this at a ministerial press briefing, organised by the Federal Ministry of Health, said more cases of the disease were being expected in days ahead, as it spreads to other places.
Speaking through its Director of Special Duties, Dr Priscilla Ibekwe, NCDC said: “As of January 22, NCDC have 123 confirmed cases and 38 deaths. 100 cases are from Kano, with 32 deaths. In Lagos there are five cases with three deaths. In Yobe, there 17 confirmed cases and three deaths, and Osun has recorded one case with no death”.
According to Ibekwe, besides clinically suspected cases, there have been laboratory-confirmed cases.
Ibekwe said the agency was working with state ministries of health and partners to enhance surveillance and response to the outbreak.
She said,”Given the sub-optimal coverage for the third dose of the diphtheria containing pentavalent vaccine (54percent – 2021 MICS & NICS) in the country, we expect more cases from more states.
“The centre has collaborated with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to organize a 5-day workshop on enhancing laboratory diagnosis of diphtheria in Nigeria for laboratory scientists working in NCDC’s National Reference Laboratories and its lab network (this was planned before cases were reported as part of preparedness), and;
“Written to all states HCHs to institute immediate and necessary public health measures for timely detection and response to diphtheria at state level”.
Speaking on measures being put in place to prevent the disease from spreading further, Ibekwe said NCDC has published a public health advisory, accessible on its website, which educates Nigerians on risk factors and offers advice.
She said:”Parents ensuring that their children are fully vaccinated against diphtheria with 3 doses of the pentavalent vaccine. Healthcare workers should maintain a high index of suspicion for diphtheria”.
She also spoke on how to better understand and contain the prevailing global outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19 variants.
She said:”The sub-lineages i.e., XBB.1.5 partly responsible for the current increase in COVID-19 cases in the US and elsewhere countries have not yet been detected in the country.
“However, this variant has not been associated with increased severity of illness and now appears to be levelling off.
“The variants reported in China so far have been those circulating globally including in Nigeria for some time.”
However, the Nigeria Centre of Disease Control and Prevention has attributed the current outbreak of diphtheria in some parts of Nigeria to a drop in the childhood vaccination coverage in some areas of the country.
The Director-General of the Agency, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, who spoke about the development on a television programme, said that there were 34 deaths recorded over the weekend from the outbreak which hit four states.
He said due to the effectiveness of the childhood vaccination programme, most people have forgotten what it looks like.
He said, “Diphtheria, a vaccine preventable disease that used to be common decades ago is on the increase in some states in Nigeria. The fact that there is a resurgence suggests that there is significant reduction in vaccination coverage among pockets of the population and this reduced pockets of immunity has given rise to the cases we have seen.
“It is not a matter of diphtheria spreading from state to state, the bacteria that causes the disease is present everywhere and it spreads, and any state in which you find the disease now is likely to be associated with suboptimal vaccination rates, either in general or in particular in pockets of population. Failure of childhood vaccination in the failed states causing the diphtheria outbreaks.
“Kano has highest number of cases followed by Yobe, by weekend, there were 34 deaths in total.”
He warned that although diphtheria was highly preventable and treatable, fatality can increase without antibiotics and appropriate conditions, including the diphtheria antitoxin. He assured that with early detection and prompt treatment, the fatal outcomes are usually low.
Adetifa stressed that the really severe cases require the diphtheria antitoxin, even as he assured that the NCDC had distributed vials of the antitoxin since December for use in Lagos and Kano states, and was planning to extend availability to every state where the disease cases are found.
“It is important that patients should be recognised early, and laboratory confirmation carried out so that treatment can commence immediately.”
Adetifa said there were arrangements for trainings of personnel for laboratory diagnosis of the toxin including testing for most of the clinical effects.
“We are in a good state to help, but patients need to be recognised early and diagnosis made quickly and they are placed on the right treatment.
“We are using the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA data to predict high risk states, there is connection with low socioeconomic situation, and we need to look out for healthcare workers who can be given courses of antibiotics.
Long-Hour Fasting, Danger To Kidney, NAFDAC Warns
The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. MojisolaAdeyeye, has advised Nigerians against subjecting themselves to long-hour fasting, saying it was risky to their kidneys.
Adeyeye, who attributed the high rate of kidney problems in Nigeria to prolonged fasting by some religious adherents, insisted that those subjecting themselves to prolonged fasting on religious grounds must moderate the act.
She spoke in Abuja, yesterday, while briefing the media on the breakthrough by her agency in tracking high consignments of Tramadol and other pharmaceuticals to the Republic of Benin.
On the high rate of kidney problems in the country, she said: “Kidney failure, we are a very religious country- Muslims and Christians fast a lot and it is part of the kidney problem.
“Your body has to have homeomistatic balance, meaning that the water level in your body must be enough to make your organs to function.
“Some people will fast for 10 or 20 days and drink only little water, the kidney is being punished. Now, if you put chemicals in it, it triples in exponential manner, it damages the kidney because the kidney doesn’t have water to dilute and filter.”
Adeyeye, who tasked Nigerians to fast but with common sense, added: “I fast but with common sense. We have to fast with common sense; otherwise we will pay with our kidneys.”
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