- Youngstars Development Initiative (YDI), a youth organisation asked INEC and NYSC to issue joint apology to corps members deployed for election duty without adequate welfare package
- The organisation also asked INEC to immediately address the logistics and welfare issues,
- The YDI added that INEC must formally inform the corps members of their welfare packages to avoid conflicting reports and malpractices
A pan-African youth organisation, Youngstars Development Initiative (YDI), has demanded public apology from relevant authorities over National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members’ plight when presidential and National Assembly elections were rescheduled.
The demand, which came in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, February 19, is directed specifically at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
INEC announced the postponement of the elections late Friday night, February 15, less than six hours to commencement of polling.
Consequently, NYSC members recruited as ad hoc staff for the elections, who had reported at their deployed areas across the country, were abandoned.
Reports and pictures in the media showed how the corps members slept in open fields, benches and buses across the country, with INEC not caring about their safety and other conditions.
In the statement signed by its executive director, Kingsley Bangwell, YDI said it was “greatly disappointed at the inadequate provision by INEC for the wellbeing’’ of the corps members.
It said: “Aside from the news of the postponement, Nigerians also woke up to embarrassing pictures in different media platforms depicting the pathetic conditions under which our corps members were forced to serve.
“Feedbacks from certain quarters revealed that the list of the corps members selected for the ad hoc work was released barely 48 hours to the election without proper posting details, causing further confusion for many of them.
“Corp members were not given any document stating their benefits; there are conflicting reports of how much they would get as allowance.
“Adequate security was not provided at some of the centres across the country where many corps members arrived at on Friday, neither were there any team to receive them.’’
The organisation said the corps members were therefore forced to stay in dark spaces, while some slept in open fields, benches and even in buses, with no proper arrangement for conveniences.
“Due to these gaps, the lives of the NYSC members were put at risk in the course of their service to the nation,’’ it noted.
It said the situation was unacceptable as it was “below the standards of dignity of labour and dignity of the human person.’’
“Besides tendering a joint public apology, INEC and NYSC should immediately address the logistics and welfare issues,’’ the group also demanded.
It asked INEC to formally inform the corps members of their welfare packages to avoid conflicting reports and malpractices.
On Monday, February 18, the NYSC issued a statement confirming the reported hardship suffered by the affected corps members across the country.
In the statement signed by its director of press and public relations, Adenike Adeyemi, the corps said that INEC had promised to improve on the safety and welfare provisions for the corps members.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the NYSC in Osun state warned politicians and their supporters against intimidation, harassment and attack of corps members deployed as INEC ad-hoc staff, during the general elections in the state.
Emmanuel Attah, the state coordinator of NYSC, gave this warning in Osogbo on Wednesday, February 13.
According to Attah, NYSC frowns at any form of violence and will not tolerate any act of intimidation, harassment and attack of any corps member before, during or after the elections.
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