The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme was established in 1973 with the aim of fostering national integration and unity. The decree, establishing the scheme also has the objective of pursuing, with utmost sincerity, efforts that will impact positive values required in youths to make a great nation.
Some individuals have called for the cancellation of the scheme while some opine making it optional not because of it failure to foster national unity but in the lingering corruption among the rank and file of a good number of its officials and poor welfare of corps members.
One of such corrupt practices is the delay in the payment of corpers’ state allowance in Sokoto state. After the verification of corpers working for state institutions eligible for the allowance, the government agency responsible for the payment then resort to paying in cash instead of using the banks when so many states are using the banks.
One will wonder how over 1500 people are paid using this obsolete method. Is it that the state government pays its workers using the same method or it is done deliberately to eschew some corpers? Can we say that the state is innocent and its workers are culprits?
They devise choosing vacation or festive periods when corpers would have travelled and the information is late too .They wouldn’t be given any consideration for payment afterwards even when the corper has travelled with permission and observing necessary protocol.
In some cases a sizeable number of corpers’ names are omitted on the pay roll without genuine interest for proper rectification, those that are unfortunate to be in this situation will have to jettison the collection of the allowance after ceaseless unyielding effort for rectification.
In a case where a corper misses the first verification, none will be possible again which will make him forfeit the allowance throughout the service year!
The most recent of their onslaught on the corpers is that of the Oct. 6 when the batch B (stream1) were passing out. They are to be paid their remaining four months allowance the same day when majority will be returning to their state, it shocked them when they were informed that only a month will be paid.
How are they going to wait to collect the remaining months when it is not paid through the banks?! Are they going to come back from their home far away from Sokoto because of the meagre three months allowance? And bearing in mind that past batches have been denied their allowance.
They protested that decision and immediately they agree to pay three months without a word on how to pay the remaining one month. Some corpers insisted full payment and the whole issue escalated into a protest, after which collection was rescheduled to be in the government house, queues endured till sunset and at the end some were able to collect the three month and a sizeable number let go of it because of the stress of long queues.
A corper commented that N12,000 was given with the calculation of N4,000 per month while what was written down is N20,000 with the calculation of N5,000 per month.
What a shame! These are graduates who have left their various states to serve their fatherland under the scorching Sun of the desert yet their sacrifices was met with disappointment, neglect and maltreatment.
This act of irresponsibility depicts how corruption has eaten deep into the moral fabric of our dear nation, it nullifies one of the objectives of the scheme which is to raise the moral tone of the Nigerian youths by giving them the opportunity to learn about higher ideals of national achievements, social and cultural improvement. These set of officials lack morality, how can they nurture the youth on thesame value!
One of them said while making the payment ‘ I want to go and pray’ and he has forgotten that the Allah he worships promises eaters of others wealth with no just cause a painful torment. A friend of mine serving in kware local government recounted similar experience where no attention is paid to renovation of the corpers’ lodge and their welfare.
It is possible that the State Government led by the Mutawallen of Sokoto, Gov. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, is unaware of the whole situation but the blame will still go back to him for not monitoring how disbursed funds are utilised.
If the future leaders of this great nation are being treated by the government in this manner, what legacy will be bequeathed to the future generation?
We enjoin the governor to make inquiry into the issue,melt appropriate sanctions on the corrupt officials and put measures in place to forestall future occurrence.
By Ayinde A., a serving Corps member in Sokoto State