Editor’s note: The purpose for which the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was established needs to be reviewed as unpalatable news on how corps members serving their fatherland are badly treated in the NYSC camps and their Place of Primary Assignment is being circulated on a daily basis.
In this piece, an aggrieved corps member serving in Oyo state, narrates what he and other corps members experienced at the NYSC camp as well as their experiences at their places of primary assignment.
I picked up my writing materials from a bitter heart based on the suffering of the Nigerian corp members serving their fatherland with a monthly pay of N19, 800.
Corps members at the NYSC camps queuing for water
Let me start from the camping exercise where it all started. An average prospective corps member spent nothing less than N30, 000 to prepare for the camping exercise. As if that was not enough, we met the extortion of our lives in the camp.
We found out that the sockets in the lodges were disconnected from power supply and it was prohibited to charge our phones using any of the available sockets so that we can pay at the camp market.
We went to the camp kitchen for food, and found a meal that cannot satisfy a year old baby. We went to the camp market, food and other items were so costly that we began to wonder whether we are still in Nigeria or one sort of desert in Afghanistan.
An average expenditure in the camp is about N40, 000 not forgetting the N3, 000 plus we paid during registration. We were given N2, 500 in the camp as if it was enough to cover our transport expenses.
Now, the real game began as soon as we were given our posting letters. We paid for the vehicles provided by the local governments to convey us to the LGA secretariat. Thanks to the religious organizations that saved us from another lodging expenses.
On getting to our Place of Primary Assignments (‘PPA’s), for those who were not rejected, we were welcomed with a very interested slogan, “No pay, no accommodation”, not considering that the state does not pay us as well.
To the best of my knowledge, only about 10% of the 36 states including the FCT pays corps members. For those posted to cities, towns, rural areas and remote villages spend from N100,000 – N200,000, N70,000 – N80,000, N30,000 – N65,000 and N10,000 – N20,000 respectively on accommodation not including household items. Some of the employers will give us camp foam (mattress).
I don’t know whether they expect us to spread it under the nearest tree and make a hut. Yes, some of the employers provided accommodation but it was only about 5% of them. I observe that no supervision is carried out when private establishments requested for corps members because I have seen corp members sent to mushroom firms that cannot even pay their direct employees let alone caring for them.
Corp members are being treated unjustly in their ‘PPA’s and when we complained, we were being threatened with a query by the employer or extension of service by our coordinators.
In all these expenses, we are expected to survive with N19, 800. We are really suffering, we cannot continue to be quiet and die serving a country that does not care for our well-being. All we keep on hearing is “think of what you can do for your country and not what your country can do for you” and we forget that when you visit home on three consecutive occasions without biscuits for the children, then count yourself as an unwanted visitor.
Any corps member that does not have “garri”in the cupboard is seriously joking, because sometimes it will become doctor’s prescription which you have to drink three times a day for survival. We are also expected to report at our ‘PPA’s four times a week and to embark on Community Development Service (CDS) once every week on an empty stomach.
There are so many things to talk about but just calculate the expenses I just outlined at an average rate, then you will discover that N19, 800 for 12 months is not appreciable. Our predecessors complained when things were not as bad as it is now, so imagine what we are going through.
In the years past, corps members were respected and given most things free of charge. Nowadays, we do not identify ourselves as corps members in the marketplace or bus stops. Just make a mistake and go to the market with your face cap, you will buy a pepper of N50 at the rate of N200 all in the name of N19, 800 and we are also expected to save for the future. I would love to continue but for the sake of my readers, let me drop my pen.
All the constituted authorities should please do something towards the increment of the monthly peanut given to the youth corps members serving their fatherland because that peanut cannot either be called salary or allowance.
My regards, please share on all social media sites until it gets to those in authority.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of Naij.com.
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