It was gathered that the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, has vehemently denied the allegation that its leadership expropriated the N23.5 million donated to critically injured ex-corps members, describing the report as mischievous.
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 suffered permanent disabilities during service.
At the 2014 NYSC President’s Honour Award, the Ibeto Group and the then Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State promised N5 million each, while Heritage Bank pledged N1.5 million to each of the beneficiaries, bringing all the donations to N23.5 million.
The scheme explained that of the three organizations that promised to give them monetary donations, only the former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Godswill Akpabio, fulfilled his promise of N5m to the nine injured corps members.
NYSC maintained that the money had been shared among the nine ex-corps members, adding that Nigerians could confirm from other groups who were yet to fulfil their promises.
A statement by the NYSC Director of Press and Public Relation, Mrs Abosede Aderibigbe, in Abuja, said the source of the report was questionable as the allegation was deliberately aimed at tarnishing the image of the NYSC.
She further said that the writer of the report failed to cross check information and seek NYSC’s side of the story to ensure a balance report.
Aderibigbe recalled that the federal government had fulfilled the promise of providing automatic employment to the nine ex-corps members.
“The whole issues regarding the Hope Alive Programme of the NYSC and the nine critically injured ex-corps members were public matters. Therefore, there is no way somebody or NYSC will sit on their money,” she said.
Director-General of the NYSC, Brig. Gen. Johnson Bamidele Olawunmi, explained that in the past, youth corps members, who sustained 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.
He said: “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.”