Some concerned Nigerians on Monday urged the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC) to urgently pay corps members’ their April allowances to save them from hardship.
The citizens said on Monday that the non-payment of the allowances would increase doubts about the continued relevance of the scheme.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Minister of Youth Development, Mr Bolaji Abdullahi, had given the assurance that the money would be paid on or before May 18.
He had explained that the delay in the payment was due to transition to a new accounting system.
Mr Femi Omokungbe, Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Yaba College of Technology Chapter, urged the government to re-evaluate the scheme to ascertain its relevance.
Omokungbe noted that many Nigerians had advocated the scrapping of the scheme because of recent developments, including security challenges.
``Going by the very sad incidences that involved corps members while actively serving their fatherland, and now this issue of delayed allowances, I think there is need to review the scheme.
``There is no way we can compare the NYSC of the 1970s to that of the recent years.
`` If government is not capable of actualising the aims and objectives of this scheme, it should be rested so that these youths can start thinking of the way forward early enough,’’ he said.
Miss Seyi Oduneye, a corps member with a government establishment, told NAN that the delay in the payment of allowance had been negatively affecting the corps members.
She claimed that the scheme was fast becoming irrelevant.
``There is nothing to be proud of again about serving one’s father land.
``I feel this 10 month- service is just a waste of time and efforts.
``It is better we start engaging ourselves as soon as we graduate from universities without getting to be exposed to all these shortcomings,’’ she said.
Mr Simon Akojo, also a corps member, told NAN: ``I think the primary course of this delay had to do with bureaucracy as well as insufficient fund, but they are just trying to find a way of dancing around it.
``Otherwise, I do not know how to explain the fact that government will be delaying the little stipend it pays us.”
Miss Adebimpe Adesina, a corps member, told NAN that the delay was making life difficult for her.
Adesina said that since the NYSC had stopped posting corps members to banks and industries where they could be paid additional stipends, the scheme should no toy with corps members’ allowances.
``Corps members in state public schools are not being paid any allowance apart from that of NYSC. They depend only on this N19 800,`` she said.
Another corps member, Mr Peter Anozie, appealed to the Federal Government to give corps members special consideration in the payment of allowances.
A parent, Mrs Temitope Alawode, also appealed to the government to urgently pay the allowances to avoid discouraging the youths.
``This act is very dangerous for our children. It could expose the females to prostitution and the men to bad gangs,`` she said.
The Chairman of the Federal Capital Territory chapter of the National Parent-Teacher Association, Mr Musa Talle, appealed to the NYSC authorities to urgently pay the allowances.
`` I appeal to the government to do everything possible to pay these corps members immediately, considering the fact that they are far away from their parents,’’ Talle said.
The Chief Public Relations Officer, NYSC, Lagos State, Mrs Florence Takon, told NAN that the problem was not peculiar to the corps members.
Takon blamed the non-payment on delayed monthly federal allocation to the NYSC.
``Corps members and all staff have not received their salaries.
`` Some other ministries and government agencies are also affected by this problem.
``We heard last week that the money would be paid but we don’t know why it has not been paid; hopefully, it will be paid this week,’’ she said.
When contacted, the Head, Budget and Planning, NYSC, Abuja, Mr Ladipo Laniyan, gave the assurance that the allowances would soon be paid.
Laniyan spoke to NAN on telephone.
``Very soon all the problems with allowances will be a thing of the past,” Laniyan said.