COVID19: As NYSC’s Community engagement boosts Nigeria’s Response
By Tomori Uriel and Isa I Gagarawa

As Covid-19 slows down global economic activities in an unprecedented manner, stakeholders across the globe have begun to map out ways to alleviate its impact on our activities and lifestyle.

Across the world, governments’ parastatals and philanthropists are contributing immensely to ensuring human activities quickly get back on track.

In Nigeria, as various individuals and organizations contribute their quota towards containing the spread of coronavirus, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is playing a key role, especially in rural areas, where corps members are domiciled across all 774 local governments areas.

The Director-General NYSC, Brigadier- General Shuaibu Ibrahim while appealing to corps members across the country never to trivialize the coronavirus disease, he urged them to deploy the skills they acquire from the Scheme’s Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) Programme to manufacture, produce and donate items for fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Gen Shuaibu also challenged the Corps Medical Personnel and others to key into the battle against the spread of the disease to complementing the medical teams treating the victims of the pandemic.

Sor far, the corps members have not disappointed as they deploy their ingenuity in production and distributions of palliative materials institutions free of charge as part of the NYSC Community Development Service (CDS) initiative,

For instance, in a bid to assist in curbing the spread of COVID-19, Corps members in the NYSC Garment Factory located in Minna, Niger State Capital, have donated 1,000 face masks to the State Government.

This, it did with the consent of its host community as a developmental process. The Commissioner Ministry of Youth and Sports Development in the State, Mr. Emmanuel Umar, while receiving the materials from the State NYSC Coordinator, Mrs Funmilayo Ajayi, expressed his appreciation towards the corps members show of patriotism, amid the fight against the ravaging pandemic.

In Ogun State, Governor Dapo Abiodun commended the State NYSC Secretariat for the visible efforts it has been making towards fighting the deadly COVID-19 scourge, especially in areas of sensitization of the public, donation of liquid soaps, face masks and sanitizers to the State government.

The donation of 300 pieces of 600ml of liquid soaps, 636 pieces of 100ml of hand sanitizers, 1126 pieces of face masks and cartons of noodles was received on behalf of Governor Abiodun, by the Commissioner of Special Duties, Barr. Olufemi Adeleke Ogunbanwo, and Commissioner, Budget and Planning, Mr Olaolu Olabintan.

It appreciated the Corps Medical Personnel for remaining in the State, even in the face of imminent danger, just to support the health sector in the State in the fight against COVID-19.

The State Government, added that it is aware of all the efforts of other Corps Members who have visited him in the office to donate; face masks, hand sanitizers, liquid soaps and food items, all in a bid to contribute to the fight against COVID-19.

In the same vein, corps members Kebbi State have embarked on a fumigation exercise as part of their contribution towards preventing the spread of Coronavirus. The corps members fumigated their corps lodges, the Arewa local government Secretariat, staff quarters, and the police station.

The State Coordinator of NYSC in Zamfara, Namalam Mohammed Taura, has approved grant for a Corps Member from legal aid Community Development Service Group to construct an automatic hand washing machine for the Secretariat.

The Sokoto NYSC Coordinator, Mr Philip Enaberue, said corpers in the state have designed and fabricated a specialised water flowing instrument for hand washing to fight against the COVID-19. He made the remarks when hand sanitisers and face masks to the Chairman of Sokoto Taskforce Committee on COVID-19 and Commissioner for Health, Dr Ali Inname.

In their contribution to the fight against the pandemic, corps members in Oyo State constructed a semi-automated hand washing equipment with soap dispensing mechanism and underground drainage system.

The Oyo State NYSC Coordinator, Mrs. Grace Ogbuogebe made the disclosure while presenting cartons of alcohol-based hand sanitisers, handwash and face masks, which were produced by corps members in the state to the state Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr Seun Fakoredeand that of Health, Dr Bashir Bello.

Also, corps members in Lagos, Taraba, Ebonyi among other state have also donated similar palliative items to various relevant institutions in the fight against the pandemic.

The scheme has so far received commendation for the efforts. The Chairman Ekiti COVID Committee and Special Adviser to the State Government, Professor Mobolaji Aluko, commended corps members in the state for producing and donating covid-19 material to the state implementation and preventive committee.

In Abuja, the FCT Minister of State, Hajia Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu has applauded NYSC Corps Members for their skills in contributing to the effort to combat the Coronavirus.

She made the commendation while receiving Face Masks, Liquid Soaps and Hand Sanitizers produced by corps members in Abuja from FCT NYSC Coordinator, Hajia Walida Siddique Isa.

The paramount leader of Doma community in Nasarawa state, the Andoma of Doma, Alhaji Ahmadu Aliyu Oga Onawo expressed satisfaction with the NYSC especially in its fight against Covid-19.

The traditional ruler made the commendation when the received State NYSC Coordinator, Mr Stephen Gabriel Dewan in his palace.

The Andoma said he has never been so proud of the scheme as he is at the moment. In his words, “I have been following the activities of the NYSC in recent times and I have seen corps members donating sanitizers,face masks and palliatives to the downtrodden. I have never been so proud of Corps members”.

As uncertainties linger in the face of an unusual global crisis, the NYSC scheme has positioned itself as a problem-solver by providing a strategic solution in form of fabrification, manufacturing and distribution of relief materials for the fight against covid-19 pandemic. The NYSC campaign in engaging a large number of Nigerian youth to be productive could be attributed to the training they undergo through the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurial Development (SAED) of the service.

Tomori Uriel and Isa I. Gagarawa are NYSC Members serving with PRNigeria Abuja