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NYSC begins orientation for corps members, moves to prevent coronavirus

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Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), said it is taking proactive measures to prevent coronavirus as ‘Batch A’ corps members began orientation in camps across the country on Tuesday.

There were insinuations that the exercise would be postpone due to the confirmation of suspected cases of the virus in the country, but Director General of the scheme, Brig.-Gen Shuaibu Ibrahim denied the reports.

He had promised to put in place preventive measures in all orientation camps in order to guard against contraction of contagious viruses by Corp members.

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The Guardian learnt that Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun Sokoto and Adamawa states have started provision of temperature checkers, hand sanitisers and hand wash in camps to encourage cleanliness, while first aid equipment have been provided in the event of any emergencies.

Coordinator of NYSC in Ondo State, Grace Akpabio, said the scheme was adopting proactive measures to prevent any outbreak of coronavirus in camp, adding, “We have enough hand gloves and face masks to go round. We have cleared and cleaned the land mass which the camp is situated, torn nets and faulty doors have also been replaced.”

Besides, Lagos State Coordinator of the Corps, Eddy Megwa, has mandated close monitoring and screening of all the 2020 Batch A corps members and camp officials to ensure that no incident of coronavirus was recorded at the orientation camp.

Speaking with The Guardian during the two-day registration of the 2020 ‘Batch A’ corps members at the orientation camp at Iyana-Ipaja, he said the exercise, which was carried out at various points in the camp, was part of measures to allay fear of contacting the virus.

“We had to place all sanitisers, hand washing, temperature checking and other things that will serve as first aid to keep away the virus from our orientation camp.

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“If you look around the orientation camp, we have placed hand washing kegs at the clinics, hostels, walk paths and everywhere so that everyone will key into the safety measures,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has canvassed postponement of the orientation exercise in order to prevent corps members and other persons from contracting coronavirus in camps.

In a statement issued by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, the group expressed doubts over the wisdom behind NYSC’s resolve to go ahead with the orientation exercise in the face of global outbreaks.

“While we agree that the outbreak of the virus is not the fault of NYSC officials, we insist that the planning of the orientation camps should take into cognizance the reality on ground.

“To be on the safe side, the exercise should be postponed by one or two months. We are talking of 350,000 skilled Nigerians. These are our children. They are the hope of this country. We should not put their lives at risk,” he stated.

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