By Douglas Okoro
Abakaliki, – The Board of Patrons, National Association of Catholic Corpers (NACC), has commended the Federal Government for sustaining the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme.
Chief Austine Edeze, the national chairman of the board, made the commendation on Sunday in Abakaliki, in an interview with newsmen at the end of a two-day national conference of the board.
Edeze said that the NYSC scheme introduced by the retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon’s administration in 1975, has done a lot in uniting youths of the country, creating culture of patriotism and nationalism amongst corps members.
He urged relevant authorities and stakeholders to ensure that the scheme’s objectives were sustained.
Edeze called on the Federal Government to address challenges militating against effective operations of the scheme, including insecurity, welfare of corps members, enhanced monthly allowances, among others.
He said that the board of patrons of NACC was formed to provide succour and support to Catholic corps members serving in different parts of the country.
According to him, the board of patrons of NACC is a body, a group of people who are Catholics and even non Catholics who have volunteered themselves to create homes for all Catholic young men and women who are deployed to various states to serve.
“We create a home to them wherever they are deployed, give them protection and welfare.
“In essence, what we want to do is to protect their faith; you know the euphoria of freedom of youths, once you leave your homes, your parents, it is as if you are free to do whatever you want to do.
“Some may even decide not to go to Church again even when they are born into Catholic families, while some may even decide to change churches because they feel they have freedom.
“But when they come and meet the same parents they have left at home, providing them care, guiding them spiritually and otherwise, they will equally feel at home.
“We make sure that they are not molested even in their places of deployment, we are very vehement about that; we ensure that they don’t suffer the ‘notorious’ rejection that psychologically affect most corps members.
“We let people know that corpers are in their states for national service and that they should enjoy every bit of care and that is what we do,” Edeze said.
The former Ebonyi governorship aspirant for the 2019 governorship election in the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said that the body would not relent in ensuring that Catholics corpers lead virtues Christian live in their places of assignment.
“We want them to lead their Christian lives in their places of deployment; we want them also to protect their Catholic faith where ever they are, and we want them to lead exemplary lives and be good ambassadors of families they have left”, he added.
Rev. Fr. George Baride, national chaplain of NACC in an interview with journalists, also called for collaborative action between government and critical stakeholders to address present challenges confronting the scheme.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme for the 13th delegates conference is, ‘Sustaining the Christian Faith,’ and attended by delegates from the 36 states of the federation and Abuja.