Nigeria, the giant of Africa offered to help Gambia review Youth Service Scheme.
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) of Nigeria has pledged to assist the Republic of Gambia in the review and smooth implementation of its National Youth Service Scheme (GNYSS) Act 2016.
Brig. Gen. Sule Kazaure, as he then was, the Director-General of the NYSC, said this when Alieu Jammeh, the Gambian Minister of Youths and Sports, paid him a visit in Abuja during his tenure as CEO, at the Yakubu Gowon House.
He said the NYSC had become a symbol of National Unity and Solidarity, and because of this unique role many African leaders were seeking to establish the scheme in their countries.
He said some of the countries included Zimbabwe, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Liberia.
He said the NYSC had introduced and initiated programmes over the years which have insured the sustenance and growth of the scheme.
He assured the minister of Nigerian Government’s support, saying: “It is not wrong to say that the GNYSS has taken root because of the support of the NYSC and we will do all we can to assist”.
Earlier, Jammeh said the support of the NYSC was critical as its knowledge and successes recorded in implementing programmes and initiatives for the youths would help in addressing the challenges in implementing the new act.
He lauded the NYSC for promoting patriotism and love for country among Nigerian youths through posting Corps Members to various parts of the country to serve in different areas.
He said the initiative compelled Corps Members to cohabit with others from different tribes and religion, thereby learning necessary skills and acquiring the experience needed to be patriotic and serve the country.
“We thought that just like you are doing here in Nigeria targeting young people through national service period and introducing them to the practicalism of employment so that they can learn how to address their immediate needs,” he said.
“We realised that here in Nigeria you have been able to address those challenges effectively and in addition through engagement in National Service, Corps Members have realised the elements of patriotism and knowledge of country.
“We have seen the benefit of that and we thought we can do the same in the Gambia by introducing a component of our national service that will ensure youths go and do minimum of six months and maximum of 18 months national service in any sector of the economy as a requirement.
“Because of this, we have reviewed the GNYSS Act which now makes it compulsory for all new grandaunts to have a period to serve the nation before you can ask for formal employment in the public sector.
“We are trying to see how this will work and how the public will react to it because as you know the challenges facing Gambia just like other countries is very similar.”
He said the country was eager to create programmes that would ensure that the youths were properly groomed and nurtured to be patriotic to the contry.
The minister said through the new act, the government was also trying to find a common ground by training youths who could not go through formal education and those who did.
He said most youths who completed their formal education had no skill or training to enable them sustain themselves and make a living hence the need to train them.
“In 1996, the Republic of Gambia did not have a university and so we did not have the issues that Nigeria and other countries were battling with until now,” he said.
“Today in the Gambia after many years of trying to establish a university which was a very bold decision taken by the government, we have challenges of what we can do for young people who go to university.
“In the vision we have, we need to come back here to seek assistance on how we can strengthen the institution to function effectively and efficiently.
“Because of the long standing relationship between the NYSC and the GNYSS we needed to pay you a courtesy visit to thank you for the assistance you extended to us in the formative years of our GNYSS.
“Your assistance was based on technical help which was provided by the Nigerian government and the people of Nigeria. On behalf of the President and the people of Gambia we thank you most sincerely.
“We are also here to inform you about what we want to do and how you can help us to achieve those objectives. We want to pilot the project this year.”
GNYSC was established in 1996 through the technical assistance of the NYSC.
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