National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members have asked the Federal Government under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to increase their allowance, saying they are facing serious hardship.
The corpers whose appeals come almost a month after the national minimum wage was increased by N25,000 expressed dissatisfaction and concerns over their exclusion from the award.
Recall the adjustment in workers’ salaries was due to the National Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC)protest against the hardship occasioned by fuel subsidy removal.
However, the Federal Government is yet to implement an increase in the NYSC members’ N33,000 monthly allowance.
A serving corps member in Ogun State, who identified himself as Melekwe Anthony, said: “While the government should be commended for paying Corpers regularly and increasing the monthly allowance from N19,500 to 33,000 naira, I think that our government should do more given current hardship in the country as most of us are starving. to ensure serving our country.
“With the cost of foodstuff in the market, transportation, and other necessary expenses right now, excluding personal savings, Corpers should certainly be earning more than they do. We know how important it is to serve our country but posting graduates far away from home to serve on empty stomachs is certainly not encouraging.”
In the same vein another serving corps member in Rivers State, Aniete Essien, said: “The Federal Government is not treating us well. After the increment of minimum wage to N65,000, corpers all over Nigeria were very happy and we were expecting it to be reflected in our monthly allowance but now the Federal Government has failed us and we are not happy. My message to the Federal Government from my point of view and with what we are facing in the country, I’m pleading that they should look into this because corps members are suffering and it’s majorly due to the inflation in the country”
Gabriel, who is also a serving corps member in Rivers State said: “It was good news when President Bola Tinubu announced the increment of minimum wage, corpers were expecting that our allowance would be increased also.
“My message to the Federal Government is that they should say something and they should try to do what they say, that will help increase our trust in them”.
Another serving corps member in Lagos state (name withheld) pleaded with the Federal Government to “consider youth corpers. The Nigerian economy is becoming something else, the cost of foodstuff, transportation, and other amenities are on the high side. The N33,000 allowance is not sufficient to cover our expenses.”
On his part, Nnanna a corps member who has completed six months of his service year in Rivers State, said: “I’m very sad indeed, based on what I’m seeing, they are still paying N33,000 instead of increasing our allowance. Corpers here are going to their PPA (Place of Primary Assignment) almost every day, we are spending money on food and the government is not taking adequate care of us. The N33,000 allowance is not enough to provide our daily bread and it’s not encouraging at all. The Federal Government should help us increase our allowance. Some of us pay transportation fares to go to our PPAs and if you calculate it for a month it’s very close to the entire N33,000 allowance we are getting.”
Amos a serving corps member in Anambra State expressed his dissatisfaction by saying: “The N33,000 allowance is not sufficient, especially with the recent inflation. To fill a 6kg gas cylinder is N6000, cost of transportation, cost of foodstuffs everything is costly now, If the NYSC is that hard to maintain, then they should scrap it”
Another concerned corper, Daniel said: “I think it’s very bad due to the situation we find ourselves in this country, the inflation has gone up and to be precise especially those of us in Rivers State, with the rate cost of things, have gone up, we are suffering. We are part of Federal Government workers. Since the minimum wage increment has been approved, I don’t see any reason other Federal Government workers will benefit from the increment and corpers should not, it’s very bad. There’s nothing we can do with the N33, O00 anymore, if you take the 33k into the market today, you can only get a few things and they know the situation that we are in. Please, the Federal Government should do the needful.”
Another serving corper in Rivers State, said: “I think maybe it’s negligence, they just forgot about corps members or something because the N33,000 allowance is not enough to sustain a corper for a month. it’s terrible, and the dollar keeps rising, prices of things keep rising. The Federal Government should do something about it. Frankly, it’s ridiculous.”
However, Mercy, another serving corper said reducing the cost of living will be more effective. “The solution is not increasing the allowance of corpers but rather to reduce the cost of living,” she said.