Written and Presented by:
Ogechukwu Winston Ukwuoma
On behalf of Corps Member Welfare Group III

With regard to the headline, we shall write about corp member welfare; and we shall also ask some questions to ascertain how NYSC has actually looked into, examined carefully, and answered to the calls for a better optimized welfare of a corps member.

(A) What Welfare is all about
The Welfare of a person is the total concern for the living conditions of that person.
It is a commitment that aims at meeting the needs of a person, and consequently promotes, upgrades, and preserves their total living conditions and vitality.
The welfare of a corps member is the aid, pat, security of life, grant and allowances given to them in order to ensure their absolute ease and comfort for the twelve months they serve their fatherland.

Welfare of a person comes in different packages and dimensions, and all of these aims at achieving one thing - the wellbeing of the person.
Corps member welfare begins right at the point of mobilization for the youth service scheme. It spans to the point where the corps member officially receives their merited certificate, signs out and then automatically becomes and ex corps member.

We are proud to be corps members, and we are proud, though in all modesty that in few days time; we shall bid farewell to National Youth Service Corps and this state of Osun as well. To this end, we can confidently give an account of the degree of welfare we received throughout our stay so far.
From our experience, we can give an overview of the corp member welfare at the below locations and events:

(1)The Orientation Camp:
It cannot be argued that we were about the first batch of corps members that had fully grown roots at their places of primary assignment before the normal camping and orientation exercise. It is laudable, the decision taken by NYSC to cancel the camping exercise earlier on in order to check the spread of the rampaging EBOLA virus. It is also applaud able for the same NYSC to reschedule the camping exercise in order to let us participate and have a feel of what orientation camp is all about. Again, it is also commendable that they paid us on time to let us have some money to buy a few needs for camping showpiece. All of these are a true exhibition of corps member welfare.
But that notwithstanding, some things went wrong. Our welfare was tempered with. Not only did most of us stand in queues for the whole day waiting for bed spaces to be allocated, we also started to understand that 21 days was not 21 minutes. It was 21 days plus 21 nights. We started noticing some cases where NYSC was not treating us right. Why should NYSC allow the soldiers to push us into strenuous drills? Why should the soldiers command us to frog-jump whenever we made the slightest negligible mistakes? Why should NYSC allow the kitchen to be serving us with hot milk colored water as tea? Why didn't NYSC inspect and made sure our toilet ends were not in decay before our arrival? Why were we forced to live a so much regimented life? Why was our total welfare almost neglected?
It's all about corps member welfare and inspection, so we should be allowed to write our minds form what we have experienced.

(2)The Community Development Service (CDS):
Apart from Place of Primary Assignment (PPA), Community Development Service is another means by which we reach out to the public. The public is made up of market women, okada riders, stall owners, pupils, students, undergraduates, builders, carpenters, taxi drivers and more. We put up campaigns and proposals targeted at enlightening and providing small scale infrastructure that can better their lives. We have them at heart, and we are so obsessed about their well being and welfare.
But we that work so hard to see to the welfare of these populace, what has NYSC done to see to our own welfare in turn? Has NYSC effectively inspected the level of tremendous commitments by corps members towards the welfare of this populace? When will NYSC pay us back by improving their (NYSC) degree of consciousness about our welfare? What measures did they put in place to ensure our safety whenever we went out there to reach out to the public?

Dealing with the public especially the uncivilized and uneducated one was quite a task. We were very much vulnerable to their mischievous reactions. We were always very careful, counting our steps and being very cautious not to cross boundaries while addressing them. It’s part of our duty, but we think our welfare is not being cared for because there is no empirical guaranty of our safety.
Setting up small scale community projects communities is also part of our duties. We planned to embark on some of these projects but there were no funds. We learnt NYSC could provide a counterpart fund if we applied for it. But we also learnt that bottle neck involved in the process was much. Why should we be treated this way? What happened to the sweet promises of good welfare packages for a corps member?

(3)The Place of Primary Assignment:
We have to categorically state that the welfare of a corps member in their place of primary assignment is abysmally low. We experienced a situation at a particular period where a riot targeted at both teachers and corpers by the students was carried out. The corps members involved luckily escaped with their lives.
But we were amazed by the fact that NYSC refused to inspect the reason behind the riot despite the fact they informed about it. The riot occurred in Akinorun high school, Ikirun. The teachers and corps members were nearly stoned to death.
Why should NYSC overlook this kind of incidence? Is our safety and welfare not the most important primary assignment to them?

(4)Host Community of the Corps Member:
The host community of the corps member is where the corps member stays and lives throughout their one year service. From our experience, we found out that NYSC did not bother about where we lived. NYSC did not bother to inspect the condition of the villages and compounds we were living in. Most of us resided in communities filled with fetish cultures and evil indigenes. Most of us also were posted to very remote villages that are not close to the main town.

We don't think the N19,800 allowance gives room to a corps member to rent an accommodation. What aids has NYSC given to this regard? From our experience, we can boldly say that welfare of a corps member when it comes to accommodation and housing is poor.

(6)The last General Elections:
Well, we can say that both NYSC and INEC did their best when it comes to the welfare of a corps member. NYSC watched over us with utter attention. Their welfare towards corps members was commendable. They ensured our safety.
But we were not properly paid. We did a lot of work, but the remuneration was simply poor.

(B) Challenges
NYSC will be in a better position to state the challenges they encounter, which consequently affects their level of concern towards the welfare of a corps member.

(C) Suggestions/Solutions
(1) NYSC should increase the allowances of a corps member
(2)NYSC should provide enough corpers' lodges in their places of primary assignment
(3)More funds from federal government should be allocated to corps members' feeding in orientation camps
(4) The populace in various communities that host corps members should be educated on the enormous need and importance of having a corps member in their midst.
(5) Security agents should be positioned and should be alert to safeguard corps members during CDS outreaches.



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