By Agene AKHERE
More than 2000 members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) serving in Edo State had a total of over N1, 113, 000 deducted from their monthly allowances between January to March 2014.
They were each paid N19, 685.25 instead of the Federal Government’s approved monthly allowance of N19, 800. Edo has over 2,200 corps members.
Lanre Ologun is the Edo State Coordinator of the NYSC. He denied that the corps members were getting less than their compatriots. He displayed the payment vouchers which detailed the approved allowance of N19, 800 per corps and the mandate his office gives out to banks each month as proof.
“If you see the vouchers, there is the mandate that explains the amount that goes into the different banks; you can see that it is not one kobo less than what the Federal Government approved as monthly allowance for each corps member.”
Ologun argued that in a bid to pay all the corps members real time or simultaneously across the state irrespective of their locations and banks, in November 2013, he bought into the Instant Interbank Transfer of the popular commercial bank which now costs each corps member N141.75 per pay check.
He admitted not taking the corps members into confidence when he fell for the bank product until some of his staff complained about the deductions.
He said he was not aware that corps members in Delta, Ondo and Ekiti were receiving the exact amount of their allowances without any bank charges and promised to stop the use of the bank facility this month.
Officials of the commercial bank in Benin City when contacted, pleading anonymity confirmed marketing the 24 hours Instant interstate transfer to the NYSC.
They said that the charge for transferring less than N9.99 million of the scheme’s funds being allowances for corps members across Edo is N141.75 per account and that it did not matter if the corps member had no account with it.
One corps member said: “Initially we thought it was taxes to the Edo state government but we learnt that corps member don’t pay taxes and the deduction is not national but only in Edo and efforts to get the reasons from the state coordinator has so far failed”.
Indications are that the bank will not refund any amount which it sees as charges for services it rendered while the NYSC operated the IIT platform. However, Mr Ologun said beginning from this month his office will discontinue the use of the bank product since it has not gone down with the corps member.