President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday gave automatic employment and scholarships for post-graduate studies to 164 former members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who served in 2012, 2013 and 2014 service years.

He announced this at the presidential villa, Abuja, during the 2014 President’s NYSC Honours Award and the flag off of the NYSC Hope Alive Programme to assist corps members who suffered permanent disabilities during their service.

Among those awarded, 55 persons were selected from 2012, 52 were from 2013 and 57 from 2014 service year.

The president noted, however, that the awardees who would be absolved into the federal civil service are those who were yet to be employed by their state governments.

Presenting the awards, Jonathan said, “I congratulate all awardees on your well merited recognition and honour. The entire nation salutes the determination, courage, discipline, commitment and hard work which you all exhibited during the service year.

“In line with our policy of encouraging our youths to always strive for excellence, including serving and prospective corps members, I hereby announce immediate employment of the award winners in the federal civil service, as well as automatic scholarship up to doctorate level in any university of their choice across the globe.”

“I urge you to always be good ambassadors of this great country and we shall continue to look up to you for greater vision and accomplishments”.

He lauded some banks for their corporate social responsibility and uncommon concern for youth development displayed through the offer of automatic employment to the awardees.

Appealing to other corporate organisations to emulate this laudable initiative as the expertise of these distinguished Nigerians should be utilised by both public and private sectors, the president promised to continue to accord priority to youth empowerment programmes by initiating policies and programmes that would focus on youths.

“A nation that does not build the youth is building a nation for disaster”, he added, even as he urged the NYSC to ensure that its efforts to establish the Integrated Farm Settlement Scheme nationwide becomes a reality without further delay.

Earlier, the director general of NYSC, Brigadier General JB Olawumi, said a significant aspect of this year’s award is the symbolic flag-off of a new programme by the scheme tagged, ‘NYSC Hope Alive Initiative’.

He noted that the initiative which is public and private sector driven promises to give hope and succour to corps members who sustained some form of disability during the service year.

Noting that the scheme has benefited from government’s support in the MDG’s War Against Poverty Programme, Oluwami added that “within the past couple of years, a total of 4,273 corps members were trained out of which 3, 706 were empowered to establish their agro- enterprise.”

He observed, however, that a major challenge of the NYSC “which impinges on its operations is inadequate facilities to cater for the increasing corps population

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