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Nigerians Demand Timely Payment Of NYSC Members



Some concerned Nigerians on Monday urged the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC) to urgently pay corps members’ their April allowances to save them from hardship.

The citizens said on Monday that the non-payment of the allowances would increase doubts about the continued relevance of the scheme.

Reports say that the Minister of Youth Development, Mr Bolaji Abdullahi, had given the assurance that the money would be paid on or before May 18.

He had explained that the delay in the payment was due to transition to a new accounting system.

Mr Femi Omokungbe, Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Yaba College of Technology Chapter, urged the government to re-evaluate the scheme to ascertain its relevance.

Omokungbe noted that many Nigerians had advocated the scrapping of the scheme because of recent developments, including security challenges.

“Going by the very sad incidences that involved corps members while actively serving their fatherland, and now this issue of delayed allowances, I think there is need to review the scheme.

“There is no way we can compare the NYSC of the 1970s to that of the recent years.

“ If government is not capable of actualising the aims and objectives of this scheme, it should be rested so that these youths can start thinking of the way forward early enough,’’ he said.

Miss Seyi Oduneye, a corps member with a government establishment, stated that the delay in the payment of allowance had been negatively affecting the corps members.

She claimed that the scheme was fast becoming irrelevant.

“There is nothing to be proud of again about serving one’s father land.

“I feel this 10 month- service is just a waste of time and efforts.

“It is better we start engaging ourselves as soon as we graduate from universities without getting to be exposed to all these shortcomings,’’ she said.

Mr Simon Akojo, also a corps member, said, “I think the primary course of this delay had to do with bureaucracy as well as insufficient fund, but they are just trying to find a way of dancing around it.

“Otherwise, I do not know how to explain the fact that government will be delaying the little stipend it pays us.”

Miss Adebimpe Adesina, a corps member, stated that the delay was making life difficult for her.

Adesina said that since the NYSC had stopped posting corps members to banks and industries where they could be paid additional stipends, the scheme should no toy with corps members’ allowances.

“Corps members in state public schools are not being paid any allowance apart from that of NYSC. They depend only on this N19 800,“ she said.

Another corps member, Mr Peter Anozie, appealed to the Federal Government to give corps members special consideration in the payment of allowances.

A parent, Mrs Temitope Alawode, also appealed to the government to urgently pay the allowances to avoid discouraging the youths.

“This act is very dangerous for our children. It could expose the females to prostitution and the men to bad gangs,“ she said.

The Chairman of the Federal Capital Territory chapter of the National Parent-Teacher Association, Mr Musa Talle, appealed to the NYSC authorities to urgently pay the allowances.

“ I appeal to the government to do everything possible to pay these corps members immediately, considering the fact that they are far away from their parents,’’ Talle said.

The Chief Public Relations Officer, NYSC, Lagos State, Mrs Florence Takon, told NAN that the problem was not peculiar to the corps members.

Takon blamed the non-payment on delayed monthly federal allocation to the NYSC.

“Corps members and all staff have not received their salaries.

“ Some other ministries and government agencies are also affected by this problem.

“We heard last week that the money would be paid but we don’t know why it has not been paid; hopefully, it will be paid this week,’’ she said.

When contacted, the Head, Budget and Planning, NYSC, Abuja, Mr Ladipo Laniyan, gave the assurance that the allowances would soon be paid.

Laniyan spoke to NAN on telephone.

“Very soon all the problems with allowances will be a thing of the past,” Laniyan said.

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Sanwo-Olu Assures On Reduction Of Food Prices



Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has assured residents of the state that the various interventions by his administration in the agriculture sector would soon put an end to the astronomic rise in food prices in the market.
The governor gave the assurance on Friday at the flag-off of distribution of agricultural productive assets and inputs under the 2021 Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme, with over 3000 agripreneurs empowered.
Sanwo-Olu said that breaking the shackle of dependency on foreign countries and states for food supplies was in line with his administration’s THEMES agenda for job and wealth creation as well as food sufficiency.
He stated that the empowerment scheme was a demonstration to the development, expansion and growth of agriculture in Lagos by providing tools, deploying innovation and creativity that would make it easier for all farmers to grow high quality crops, thereby raising their inputs to feed Lagosians and Nigerians.
The governor said that his administration was putting in place various interventions which included wholesale agriculture hub, urging farmers, youths and beneficiaries to work hard to nurture their businesses to maturity by building a sustainable wealth.
“We have emerged wiser and more determined to succeed in creating and nurturing a viable agribusiness sector in Lagos State. We may be Nigeria’s smallest state by land mass, lacking the large tracts of land available to others, but we will not allow that to stand in the way of our vision.
“We will maximise the little we have, while also deploying the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit we are known for, to create new opportunities to feed ourselves and feed Nigeria, and create economic growth and prosperity through agriculture”, he said.
 The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, said that 70 per cent of the beneficiaries of the programme were youths and women chosen from the Lagos Agripreneurship programme (LAP), Agric YES programme, and value chain associations.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Monorail Project, A Waste Of Rivers Resources – GDI



The Monorail Project that was abandoned by the Chibuike Amaechi-led administration in Rivers State has been described as a complete waste of state resources.
President-General of the Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI), worldwide, Bright Amehule, in an interaction with journalists at the weekend, alleged that the former state governor used the monorail project to squander Rivers money.
He said that the monorail was not desirable as at when it was embarked upon, adding that the money sunk into the project would have been used for more people oriented projects. 
According to the GDI boss, the state has not reached the stage where the monorail is necessary.
“We have not reached the stage of development where we will need monorail. Where is the power to run it ? We have not grown to the stage to run it, as we have observed in other developed countries.
“We need power to run the monorail, but even the power project former governor Peter Odilli executed was sold by Amaechi. He squandered the money he sold the power project built by Odili without giving account of it.
“There is just little to show for the huge amount of money spent on the monorail and the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority”, he said.
On account of his stewardship as the coordinator of taskforce on Street Trading and Illegal Parking, Amehule said that he performed his duties well, but pointed out  that no individual can satisfy everybody, irrespective of how the person tries.
He said that the state government engaged over 600 youths as task force men, adding that the state government is doing its best to ensure youths employment in the state. 
According to him, the state government has taken steps to provide employment through numerous projects such as the Cassava Plant at Oyigbo, the recent partnership with South Korea, numerous construction works being handled by Julius Berger, and the expansion of the Rivers State University, among others.

By: Corlins Walter

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SON Procures Warehouse For Goods’ Testing



In a bid to stop the practice of arresting containers released at the seaports on the highways by its officials, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has procured a warehouse around the port where suspicious goods will be taken to for testing.
The Director General, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim who disclosed this at a one day capacity building workshop for journalists organized by SON in Lagos, recently, said that rather than blocking suspicious goods at the port and delay other legitimate businesses coming through, they would just take those containers to their warehouse and conduct their test.
Salim explained that after testing, if the goods were found to be okay, they would release them but if the goods were found not to be okay, they (SON officials) would show those individuals how to fix the products if the products were fixable, adding that where they were not fixable; the SON would destroy them in line with their mandate.
Salim explained that the idea was to encourage ease of doing business at the seaport, saying the organisation does not want bottlenecks and bureaucracy that would stop people from achieving their legitimate goals.
He assured that the SON management would continue to rejig the system to make it more efficient.
According to him: “We have done so many changes over the years. For example, we have our own warehouse right by the port where goods that are suspicious, instead of blocking them in the port and delay other legitimate businesses coming through, we just take those containers to our warehouse which are nearby and because we have a very high professional and efficient lab in this country, we do our test, if the goods are okay, we release them. If the goods are not okay, we show those individuals how to fix those products if they are fixable, if they are not fixable; we destroy them which is our legitimate mandate by the government and by the National Assembly”.
He emphasised that it was the SON’s responsibility to make sure that every goods that enter the country are up to standard.  
He said: “We make sure there are consequences to any product and that any person producing substandard products will have to pay one way or the other. We will have to make sure that there are consequences for individuals buying fake products and injuring our people. We are to make sure manufacturers of goods; building materials are up to standards because collapsing buildings are not discriminatory. 
“We, as an organisation, are committed to improving our responsibility. If we expect standards from people, we have to three times inspect how we handle ourselves. So, over the years, we have collaborated with market associations, we have collaborated with importers’ associations even though our responsibility is primarily to help our local producers but Nigeria has importers and they are legitimate businessmen and they are importing things that are needed in Nigeria. So, our responsibility is to make sure that whatever comes to this country is standard, is good, is not going to harm our people and our local industry”.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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