More than one year after completing their national service, indications have emerged that nine National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, injured in motor accidents during the 2014 service year, may have not received the N23.5 million donated in their aid.
The money was donated to the youths under the NYSC Hope Alive initiative, a public/private sector partnership (PPP) aimed at bringing succour to corps members who suffer permanent disability during service.
To one of the beneficiaries who served during the 2014 year whose injuries stopped him from attending the award ceremony, Ibeto Group donated N5 million. The then Governor Godswill Akpabio gave all the nine corps members N5 million while Heritage Bank gave the beneficiaries N1.5 million each, bringing all the donations to N23.5 million. The money was to enable them pick up the pieces of their lives after the tragedies that left them disabled. They also benefitted from automatic employment initiated by the Federal Government.
The corps members are Susan Nwouku from Benue State; Alade Bukola Oluwaseun from Ekiti; Hunsu Oluwafemi from Lagos; Igheghe Ijeoma from Delta; Akinrujomi Folarin from Ondo; Nwagbara Eberechi from Rivers; Kayode Funke, Samuel Ngada and Samuel Abigail from Oyo. Two of them each had one of their arms amputated in the accidents they were involved in during the service year. The beleaguered former corps members refused to talk to Sunday Abuja Bulletin when approached on the Hope Alive initiative. And NYSC authorities could not be reached at press time on the matter.
Director-General of the NYSC, Brig. Gen. Johnson Bamidele Olawunmi, had, while announcing the initiative, said it was designed “to give hope to future corps members that the scheme and indeed this great nation will not abandon those who may suffer similar fate in the course of national service”.
On the nine 2014 beneficiaries, the NYSC boss said, at the 2012, 2013 and 2014 President’s NYSC Honours Award ceremony: “No Nigerian youth will be abandoned. “Such hope will be through the provision of training and start-off grant to them in their chosen skills. It is also to give hope to future corps members, that the scheme and indeed this great nation will not abandon those who may suffer similar fate in the course. “Although, government is paying N1 million as worn-off fees for such members, we don’t just want to leave it there. We want to continue to monitor such corps members. This indeed is a worthy initiative. In the past, youth corps members who sustain injuries leading to permanent disabilities during their service were subjected to post-service emotional and psychological trauma as they were neglected by the same society they were mobilised to serve.
“The cash awards by the private sector partners and the offer of employment by the federal government would indeed bring succour not only to the now physically-challenged ex-corps members but also to their families who placed their hopes on them for support after their service year. “Disabling injuries can have a lot of effect on the ambition of those who are unfortunate to suffer them but the society must have enough humanitarian and humane spirit to ameliorate those effects by seeing that special provision is made for the purpose of empowering such people to still pursue their dreams and achieve their goals in life. The future of our country’s well-being is the youths and we all owe it a sacred duty to empower them to pursue their dreams.”
Managing Director of Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, who also spoke at the ceremony, said his bank’s gesture to the affected corps members was informed by its belief that the future well-being of the country would be better guaranteed if all well-meaning Nigerians and other stakeholders teamed up with the Federal Government to empower youths to create wealth”.