President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday gave an indication that his administration would not be scrapping the National Youth Service Corps scheme as being proposed in some quarters.
Reaffirming his support for the scheme established in 1973, the President said he had thanked a former military leader, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), for the initiative.
Buhari spoke while granting audience to members of the NYSC currently serving in Daura community, Katsina State, shortly after he joined the Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Farouk, and other Muslim faithful, to observe the Eid prayers at the Kofar Arewa Eid Ground, Daura.
The audience has become part of his schedules during Sallah celebrations.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, quoted the President as saying that it was better for youths to know all the parts of the country than being familiar with only their states.
The President said, ‘‘It is better to know all the country than for people to be state-inclined.
‘‘I always look forward to meeting the NYSC team because since I served mostly in the south when I was in the military, some people in Lagos, the only thing they know is the sea.
‘‘For them (NYSC members) to be brought to the desert or near the Sahel region is a very difficult thing but it will make an impact on Nigeria.
‘‘I have personally spoken to Gen. Gowon to thank him for having the initiative to start the NYSC programme. It is very good for Nigeria,’’ he said.
The President formally welcomed the corps members to Daura and asked them to enjoy their national service year.
In his remarks, the Corps Liaison Officer, Jibrin Ishak, thanked the President for prioritising the welfare and a secure future for the Nigerian youth through his style of leadership and developmental initiatives.
‘‘The voice of the people is the voice of God and by the grace of God, we pray that in 2019 you will continue to be President of Nigeria to do more for us,’’ Ishak said.
The representative of the corps members prayed to God to sustain the President with good health, long life and prosperity.
In his usual tradition, the President, in the spirit of the season, donated a bull, 10 bags of rice and half -a -million naira to the corps members.
Earlier at the prayer ground, Buhari had the honour of performing the symbolic slaughtering of the ram, signifying total obedience to the will of Allah as exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim.
After the prayers the President shunned protocol and opted to trek some 800 metres, acknowledging cheers from Nigerians who had trooped out en masse to attend the Eid prayers and also catch a glimpse of him in his hometown.
The President, who wished all Nigerians a happy and successful Sallah celebrations, expressed delight that the country was spending less on food imports, noting that it was a major boost to the agricultural policies of his administration.