Abuja – The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has developed a biometric data capturing technology that will help in the nationwide conduct of weekly and monthly check on corps members.
The Director-General of the corps, Brig.-Gen. Johnson Olawumi, said this during the inauguration and practical demonstration of the programme at the Kuje Area Council, Abuja.
“It is going to make sure that corps members stay in their places of primary assignment. It will reduce the rate at which they travel.
“It will help the core employers to benefit from the services of these corps members maximally because they will now remain in their places of primary assignment.
“We have policies in the scheme that guide absence from places of primary assignment. For example – there are certain number of times a corps member can be absent and such a corps member – in punishment – the service will be extended.
“We are not doing this in isolation it is in line with the policies of the scheme. It is going to bring transparency and accountability into the way we do things.
“My staff, who have been conniving with corps members in the past will not be able to do that anymore because unless such a corps members cuts the thumb and gives to anybody to thumb print for him.“
The DG said that six members of staff were presently facing possible dismissal from the scheme after being caught engaging and conniving with corps members to leave their places of primary assignment.
He said that the disciplinary measure being taken was in line with the public service rule and the NYSC condition of service.
He said that the biometric technology made provision for corps members who may genuinely fall sick or have reasons to be away from their areas of assignments during the course of the service year.
Olawumi said that the biometrics would first be deployed for use in Lagos and Abuja adding that it will be fully adopted by other states of the federation next year.
“This exercise will start this September with corps members of batch C 2014 who will be passing out soon and batch A 2015 and it is going to start this September in Lagos state and the entire FCT.
“Batch B 2015, those who will be in Lagos and FCT this biometrics will be applied for them throughout their service year. By next year we will try to extend it to all the other states in the federation.
“The demonstration, which we are witnessing today, is part of the second phase of the computerisation process of the operations of the NYSC scheme for the purpose of enhancing our overall performance.
“Let me also allay the fears of some corps members we are going to make it very user friendly.
“We are going to do it in such a way that it will not impose additional or inconvenience on you than what you face presently.“
He said that the analogue system which was previously in use promoted unwarranted journey to schools to collect call-up letters which led to accidents or loss of letters and in some cases some persons missed the service year.
The DG urged corps members and staff of the scheme in states and local governments to embrace the process with diligence in order to make it a success.
He said that the service would not tolerate acts geared towards sabotaging the success of the program noting that the scheme was working assiduously to computerize all activities of the scheme in line with global best practices.
According to Olawumi, by this, the NYSC like other agencies of government will be positioned to render seamless, efficient, and effective service to Nigerians.
The D-G warned corps members wishing to stage any form of protest either on non-payment of allowance or other matters to desist from such endeavor as there was no provision for such in paramilitary agencies.
He said that corps members caught would be severely sanctioned and disciplined calling on states and local governments owing allowances to corps members to ensure immediate payment.
Olawumi said that the biometric technology was already in use by the scheme as ID cards of corps members had chips which were used to identify and locate them especially in cases of emergency.
“The package also includes a change in the certificate they will receive at the end of their service year. The certificate of national service will now carry the passport photograph of the corps member to forestall theft.
“Employers of ex corps members can now login the NYSC website and verify the certificate and authenticity of other information presented them” he added.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Kuje Area Council, Hon. Ishaku Saban, lauded the hard work and diligence corps members serving in the council showed in the discharge of their duties.
He assured the scheme of improvement in infrastructural development in order to improve the condition of the people and corps members living within the area.
Dr. Micheal Ikhide, the Director corps welfare of the scheme said that the task of effectively monitoring corp members nationwide had remained a challenge to management.
Ikhide said the launch of the biometrics would check cases of absenteeism, submission of monthly clearance letters by proxy and other forms of indiscipline among corps members. (NAN)