The media and publicity director of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Bose Aderibigbe, has revealed that the organisation which coordinates graduates serving their fatherland, is seriously in need of funds.
A report by The Cable quoted Aderibigbe as saying that N10, 500, as budgeted by the government for corp members’ kits, was no longer enough.
Nigeria is currently in crisis or recession and a reported inflation. Prices of goods and services have soared causing anger and grumblings among the citizens.
But President Muhammadu Buhari says the current challenges will be resolved soon by the government despite a level of pessimism from the people.
Quoting an interview with The Guardian, the report said Aderibigbe believes the situation is not hopeless, but added that out of the 260, 000 corp members to be mobilised in 2016, 70,000 are still being held down.
Aderibigbe said: “This year for instance, since the Federal Government does not want a situation where youths who are done with tertiary education hang out longer than necessary before having their chance to serve, we were given 260, 000 corps members to mobilise.
“So far, we are left with about 70, 000. Once the present set leaves in October or thereabouts, this outstanding will be taken care of for the year. This is not a hopeless situation as people are made to believe.
“It should be noted that once the federal government gives us the figure to mobilise for a particular year, they back it up with funds to take care of that number.
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“We are in need of a lot of funds to ease our operations, but we will continue to cry to the government until the situation improves.
“As we speak, all 37 orientation camps have boreholes that take care of their water needs. The battle to make the camps spick and span took a different dimension under the immediate past director-general, Brig-General Johnson Olawumi, who went the extra mile to ensure that there were adequate facilities in camps.
“In those days, when the NYSC visits state governors, we usually went with copies of the laws setting us up. And we always let the governors to know that state governments have a duty to provide facilities at these camps. Of course, in this direction, some state governments performed creditably well.
“When I was a state coordinator, I remember former Governor Alao Akala of Oyo State, providing the NYSC with a giant Mikano generator.
“Former Governor Martins Elechi, of Ebonyi state, also gave NYSC in the state three Mikano generating sets, and Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo state, also gave NYSC in the state a power generating set.”
Continuing, she said: “Right now, through the instrumentality of the NYSC, and some state governments, all orientation camps in the state have power generating sets to take care of their power needs.
“General Olawunmi would even go straight to see what the toilets look like on visiting an orientation camp.
“Thereafter, he would move to the kitchen to inspect the conditions, taste the meals, check out the sizes of meats and fishes given to corps members, and ensure that things were generally done the right way.
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“He also ensured that more toilet facilities, including mobile toilets were put in place for the convenience of corps members. The good thing in all of these is that all these steps the incumbent DG, Brig-General Sule Zakari Kazaure, I also taking in a bid to lift the scheme higher.
“The sum of N10, 500 is budgeted by the federal government for the complete set of kits for each corps member.
“This includes a pair of khaki; two white vests; one crested vest; two pairs of shorts; a fez cap; a pair of canvass and a pair of jungle boots. In Nigeria today, we all know that this amount is incapable of purchasing the topmost quality of all of these.”
The NYSC was set up by the Nigerian government to involve the country’s graduates in the development of the country in 1973.
Ahmadu Ali, who later became the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), served as the first director-general of the NYSC until 1975.