Youth corp members to get N500 daily feeding allowance – but is it enough

by Kolapo Olapoju

 

A sum N500 has been allocated by the Federal government as daily feeding allowance for members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

The new directive was disclosed by the Director General of the NYSC, Brigadier-General Johnson Bamidele Olawumi, on Wednesday, 22 October, during a House of Representatives Committee on Public Petition investigative public hearing on the N4,000 online registration fee imposed on prospective corps members by the corps.

A civil society coalition: ‘Say No Campaign’ had dragged the NYSC before the Uzor Azubike-led House committee in protest against the contentious fees.

Brigadier Olawumi was responding to the ‘Say No campaign’ petition, over the online registration fee, where he disclosed that the federal government approved N500 as feeding allowance for each corp member per day.

Mr. Ezenwa Nwagwu, who championed the ‘Say No Campaign’ had called for the reversal of the proposed N4,000 fee payment and where payment has been made, a refund to the prospective Corp members.

The Director General of the corp, however, disclosed that over N800 million was required to setup the computer registration system the NYSC is presently using for its online registration.

He explained that the fees will service a private sector driven build, operate and transfer agreement. He said the registration equipment will be installed at NYSC offices nationwide, while adding that the process was approved by the Bureau of Public Procurement with a certificate of no objection.

He also added that rather than agitate for the reversal of the fee, he would welcome calls for increment of the current N19,800 allowance being to prospective Corp member.

Reacting to the planned daily feeding allowance, several youth corpers are of the opinion that the money is significantly insufficient to take care of a whole day’s meal.

The corp members, especially those serving in Lagos say that the sum of N500 can only take care of one meal going by the high cost of food prices in the state.

Others corp members are, however, concerned about the specifics of the allowance, wondering if it’s meant to be for the the 3-week orientation period, or the entire service year period.

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