The Director, UN Habitat, Prof. Oyebanji Oyeyinka, on Thursday advocated for reforms in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in line with best global practice.
Oyeyinka made the call in Abuja at a meeting with officials of the Ministry of Youth Development led by the Minister, Mr Boni Haruna.
He said the proposed reforms could begin with a total assessment and evaluation of the scheme and proper documentation of its activities.
UN Habitat, Prof. Oyebanji Oyeyinka
He expressed worry that the NYSC, Nigeria’s biggest tool of national unity and integration which has been in existence for the past 41 years, remained relatively unknown to many people around the world.
“I am glad that the present administration in the ministry is taking positive steps towards repositioning key elements of the ministry like the NYSC.
“What we want government to do with the NYSC is reforms that will give it a global look and make it better, NYSC has not been documented in a way that is known to the world.
“The NYSC is over 40 years old but many do not know about the scheme despite its age and size.
“The idea is to expose it to the world so that our youths and the government will benefit from its global popularity,’’ he said.
Earlier, the minister said the meeting with the UN Habitat delegation was to assess the implementation of the agreement reached between the two earlier in July.
Haruna said the ministry was already working on some of the issues raised at the previous meeting with the UN Habitat.
He said government had already initiated a plan to accelerate the Junior Professionals Officer (JPO) programme, the NYSC reform and the urban youth report.
Haruna assured the team that government would not relent in its efforts to transform the youth sector and make it more viable and vocal at international events such as the World Youth Assembly.
“We are very eager to see that some of our programmes are upscaled and mainstreamed in the UN system so that other nations can share from our experience.
“Government is also conscious of the fact that Nigerians need to benefit from the system as well,’’ he said.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Henry Akpan, said the meeting would facilitate the implementation of decisions reached at the last meeting of both organisations’ officials.
The Director-General of the NYSC and top officials of the UN Habitat office attended the meeting. (NAN)