Nigeria as a developing country has been plagued by so many setbacks over the years, and more than ever before, the need for unity amongst all members of the society, cannot be over-emphasized. As the popular saying goes, “No man is an island” as such, irrespective of the diverse cultural and geographical backgrounds of our people, we all need one another to sustain the growth and development of our nation.
In this article, we wouldn’t just be considering the current allowance of corps members, but we would also take a general look at what the NYSC scheme entails, its eligibility factors and how the change in its monthly allowance has affected our youths, both negatively and positively.
Let’s get to it then.
The NYSC Scheme and its Purpose
The introductory statements of this article, bring to mind one of the sole purposes for the establishment of the NYSC program. The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), is a scheme that was set up by the Nigerian government, in the year 1973. The program was put in place with the aim to involve all Nigerian graduates, in the building and development of the country.
Furthermore, the program also seeks to inculcate in our Nigerian youths, the spirit of selflessness in the service of our communities. It also seeks to promote oneness in all Nigerians, irrespective of our cultural or social origin. Judging by the lasting effects the country still suffers after the Civil War, this initiative that was taken by the Nigeria government several years back, has proven to be very imperative.
The NYSC scheme is open to all graduates of private/public universities and polytechnics under the age of thirty, both within and outside the country. The program’s duration of one year involves a mandatory three-week orientation camp, after which the corps members are deployed to their places of primary assignment, for a period of eleven months. The one-year duration of service is known as the National Service Year and upon its completion, the corps members are awarded a National Certificate of Service.
For all the hard work and dedication put in by the youths during their national service year, the Nigerian government also saw the need to place them on a temporary allowance, during their period of service. After the inauguration of the scheme, up until the year 2019, the corps members were paid N19,800 monthly. However, in January 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the allowance increment for corps members. This was done in line with the signing of the new national minimum wage, in early 2019.
The allowance of the corps members was therefore increased from N19,800 to N33,000 and currently, that is still the present allowance. Several reactions trailed this increment in the allowance of the corps members, all around the country. Of course, the increment came as great news to both concurrent corps members and their families, a few others have also seen it as an avenue to cheat the government by cutting corners.
Effects of the New Monthly Allowance
The NYSC board started to encounter several cases of age falsification, in the registration of some graduates, who on the other hand did this, so as to benefit from the increment of the monthly allowance. These graduates who succeed in getting through the registration process with false ages, would then have the opportunity to serve two or three times, solely because of the allowances the corps members are entitled to.
In a bid to curb this menace, the Director-General of the corps, Brigadier Shuaibu Ibrahim, is working hand-in-hand with the leader of the JAMB board, Mr Ishaq Oloyede, to ensure that graduates wouldn’t be able to falsify their ages. This can be made possible through the employment of the age records, that the JAMB bodies already have of the candidates in question, and so far this curbing system has proven to be quite effective.
While some graduates see this increment in allowance from N19,800 to N33,000, as an opportunity to cheat the government bodies, others see it as a source of motivation and incentive for their year of service and as such, we have more corps members that are ungrudgingly willing to go through their service year, knowing that they would be duly rewarded.