It all seems like yesterday when the Batch B corpers were registering for the mandatory National Youth Service Corps(NYSC). Many of us were happy to choose the 3rd richest state in Nigeria (RIVERS STATE) because we quickly want to explore the opportunities that life has for us. After our Orientation camp, we discovered that all corpers were compulsorily made to teach in schools except Doctors and Lawyers who were called upon to work with government institutions. Many Corpers that were posted to the city of port harcourt to work with the state government were neither paid nor given accommodation. Majority of us were made to rent "face me I face you" apartments, at a cost of nothing less than 70,000 naira per year, self contain begins from 160,000 naira before you will be told to pay for drink fee, agency fees, and some other ancillary financial commitments that will make you scream WHAT THE HELL! ,and the likes
High cost of Transportation. A lot of us spend nothing less than 200 naira per day to get to our place of primary assignment (PPA). Some living far spend almost 500 naira per day for 5 times a week. (still in this 19,800 naira paid by the Federal Govt. )
Utility bills like NEPA, water and the like still need to be paid for. And with the increment on electricity tarrif, some of us are paying as high as 5000naira per month.
The corpers, most especially the ones living in port harcourt city "have been living through their noses". The most annoying part is that when you tell a person outside Rivers state that you are serving in Port Harcourt , what you will hear are praises like "baba ooo", "big boy/girl", "oil money corper" and you are like what are you saying.
STATE GOVT ALLAWEE PROMISE
It was a thing of joy for every Corper serving in Rivers state when Governor Wike promised to increase the state allowance to 10,000 and 15,000 Naira per month for people serving in port harcourt city and rural areas respectively. This publication was made on various newspapers. Below are links to the promise
The least of us was already calculating 120,000 Naira at the end of the service year for a thank you package. However, we have realised that ever since the PUBLIC PROMISE was made, we have not heard anything about it.
WHY WE DESERVE THE STATE ALLAWEE
It should be noted that the Corpers have taken part in a lot of activities in the growth of the State of which a few are;
1. The organisation of the election that brought the current government in office. (even though a corper was killed as a result of the election violence and some injured) we were still able to conduct the election.
2. We engage in charity campaign. Different CDS Groups have been to motherless babies home to encourage and also provide relief materials for the orphans. (out of our personal contributions)
3. We create awareness campaign. We go to villages and schools to educate the people on deadly diseases and how to prevent them.
4. We also help in taking away criminals. I will like to appreciate the lawyers serving in Rivers State Ministry of Justice. No body outside will ever believe that they were paid nothing with the way they do their work diligently. Am sure their law school fees must have cost them a fortune.
5. We also help in preaching the gospel of christ in the rural areas of Rivers state through various means of evangelism. The Jesus Corpers have done a super great job in preaching christ in every local government and villages of Rivers state through "Rural Rugged"
6. The doctors have been doing a great deal of work in saving the lives of Rivers state people. We work day and night to save lives.
7. Life in Rivers state is too expensive. And most of us live on loan pending the 19,800 federal government allowance. Imagine using 19,800 to pay transport yourself to your ppa, pay your utility bills, feeding (where the cheapest meal is N250), and other out of pocket expenses we incur.
In conclusion, we use this opportunity to remind our Amiable Governor not to forget the promise he made to us after the death of Late Samuel Okonta (of blessed memories) during the rerun election
Our hopes were further allayed when we discovered that the Batch A corpers that passed out in April 2016 have not been paid their state allowance after 5 months. NOW WE BATCH B CORPERS HAVE LESS THAN 28 DAYS TO GO AND NOTHING HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT OUR STATE ALLOWANCE. We want the Governor to use His good office to pay us our allowance as promised. As the saying goes "every labourer after work must get paid"