From an aggrieved Corps member...
N19, 800: A Salary, An Allowance or A Peanut.
I picked up my writing materials from a bitter heart based on the suffering of the Nigerian Corp Members serving their fatherland with a monthly pay of N19, 800.
Let me start from the camping exercise where it all started. An average Prospective Corp Member spent nothing less than N30, 000 to prepare for the camping exercise. Like that was not enough, we meet the extortion of our lives in the camp. We found out that the sockets in the lodges were disconnected from power supply and it was prohibited to charge our phones using any of the available sockets so that we can pay at the camp market. We went to the camp kitchen for food, and found a meal that cannot satisfy a year old baby. We went to the camp market, food and other items were so costly that we began to wonder whether we are still in Nigeria or one sort of desert in Afghanistan. An average expenditure in the camp is about N40, 000 not forgetting the N3, 000 plus we paid during registration. We were given N2, 500 in the camp as if it was enough to cover our transport expenses.
Now the real game began as soon as we were given our posting letters. We paid for the vehicles provided by the LGA’s to convey us to the LGA Secretariat. Thanks to the religious organizations that saved us from another lodging expenses. On getting to our Place of Primary Assignments (PPA’s), for those who were not rejected, we were welcomed with a very interested slogan, “NO PAY, NO ACCOMMODATION and we were fused to pay #500 each to our local government inspector before we are given file to document our information''. Not considering that the state does not pay as well. To the best of my knowledge, only about 10% of the 36 states including the FCT pays Corp Members. For those posted to cities, towns, rural areas and remote villages spend from N100,000 - N200,000, N70,000 – N80,000, N30,000 - N65,000 and N10,000 – N20,000 respectively on accommodation not including household items. Some of the employers will give us camp foam (mattress). I don’t know whether they expect us to spread it under the nearest tree and make a hut. Yes, some of the employers provide accommodation but it can only be about 5% of them. I observe that no supervision is carried out when private establishments request for Corp Members, because I have seen Corp Members sent to mushroom firms that cannot even pay their direct employees let alone caring for a Corp Member. Corp Members are being treated unjustly in their PPA’s and when we complain, we are being threatened with a query by the employer or extension of service by our coordinators.
In all these expenses, we are expected to survive with N19,800. We are really suffering, we cannot continue to be quite and die serving a country that does not care for our well-being. All we keep on hearing is “think of what you can do for your country and not what your country can do for you” and we forget that when you visit home on three consecutive occasions without biscuits for the children, then count yourself as an unwanted visitor.
Any Corp Member that do not have “GARRI” in the cupboard is seriously joking, because sometimes it will become doctor’s prescription which you have to drink three times a day for survival. We are also expected to report at our PPA’s four times a week and to embark on Community Development Service (CDS) once every week on an empty stomach. There are so many things to talk about but just calculate the expenses I just outlined at an average rate, then you will discover that N19,800 for 12 months is not appreciable. Our predecessors complained when things are not as bad as it is now, so imagine what we are going through.
Days has gone when Corp Members were respected and given most things free of charge. Nowadays, we do not identify ourselves as Corp Members in the marketplace or bus stops. Just make a mistake and go to the market with your face cap, you will buy a pepper of N50 at the rate of N200 all in the name of N19, 800 and we are also expected to save for the future. I could love to continue but for the sake of my readers, let me drop my pen.
All the constituted authorities should please do something towards the increment of the monthly peanut. Because if you call it “A Salary”, you are wrong. If you call it “An Allowance”, you are very wrong.