+MAY SEEK INTERVENTION OF FINANCE MINISTER; ICPC:
A pro-transparency Non-Governmental organization- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA] has raised alarm that there may exist a well entrenched racket within the management of the National Youth Service Corps scheme [NYSC] that has perfected mechanism for fleecing the country of huge resources annually through manipulation of the list of participants of the national service scheme and corrupt procurement practices.
The Rights group said it has been inundated with considerable volume of calls by concerned insiders who have also fingered officials of the Federal Budget Office and the relevant committees with oversight powers over the NYSC in the National Assembly in the huge swindle which may have gone on since 2010 costing Nigeria nearly N90 billion.
In a statement to the media and signed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss. Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said the group will soon approach the offices of the Honorable Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister in charge of the Nigerian Economy Dr. [Mrs.] Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related matters commission [ICPC] to demand that an independent forensic audit is carried out to unravel the veracity or otherwise of these worrying allegations of fraud of humongous proportion within the NYSC.
HURIWA said it was aware that the current minister of Finance has done so much to check the existence of ghost workers in the federal civil service but lamented that the NYSC was overlooked apparently because the participants in the scheme annually are not permanent employees of the Nigerian state.
“There is every indication that several Billions of Naira is being fleeced Nigeria yearly through the NYSC scheme. For the past three years, the scheme claim in its yearly budget to mobilize 250,000 corps members whereas the actual mobilized figures are allegedly far short of these figures. A cursory look at these figures shows that budgetary allocations and release of corps members allowance is 98% for corps members monthly allowance”, HURIWA alleged.
The Rights group further averred thus; “The question is what happens to several billions of Naira of released corpers allowance from the Federal Government? For instance, for 2012 and 2013, the total difference of released monthly corpers allowance which NYSC ought to return to the Federal coffers is reportedly N13,583,808 billion. And for 2014 Batch ‘A’ while NYSC received money for about 100,000 corps members which it claimed it was mobilizing, only 51,000 corpers were allegedly mobilized whereas the allowance of 49,000 unmobilized corpers amounting to slightly above N10.3 billion Naira may be unaccounted for if action is not adopted by the Finance ministry to recoup the difference”.
The group also stated that it gathered from information and materials at its disposal that “The above stated figures of expenditures are aside other allowances like N1,500 transport allowance to camp and N1,500 transport back home at the end of the service year as well as N1,000 local transport allowance which everyone of the supposed 250,000 is said to have been collected by NYSC management”.
“Another angle to this alleged massive looting of the nation’s treasury is that while government appropriates/releases N500 for feeding each corps member per day for 21 days in camp only N300 is actually said to be released to states secretariats for this. We hereby call on the relevant bodies to commence investigation to ascertain if these damaging allegations are anything to go by so as to save the nation the much needed resources at these trying periods and to restore human dignity in the feeding regime applicable for participants of the national service scheme”, HURIWA stressed.
The group also stated that; “We learnt from reliable sources also, that yearly Billions of Naira are released for clothing kits (uniforms) for the supposed 250,000 corps members. How come for over four years the figure of 250,000 corpers has been constant?”.
“Nigerians need to also ask why has government not been paying corps members monthly allowance direct to them just like they do with workers. Are they saying there are no ghost corpers?”
“There is need to stop this massive looting now. The Billions of Naira being looted into private pockets can as well be used to provide education and jobs for the youths whose name is being used to loot.
A forensic examination of the financial books will reveal that the above is just a tip of the ice berg in the colossal looting of the country’s commonwealth. This is a wakeup call to all Nigerians to ask where are the Billions going to, who is in possession of this money?” HURIWA averred.