Members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who worked as ad-hoc staff for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the the 2019 general election are yet to receive their allowances.
SaharaReporters gathered that while most of the corps members were not paid at all, some of them received part payment weeks after the election. Also, while some are yet to be paid for the March 9 governorship election, some are yet to receive for both February 23 presidential election and the governorship.
The ad-hoc staff who spoke to our correspondents lamented the “cold-heartedness of the commission” for not duly paying them for their work in making the electoral process successful.
INEC had announced that each ad-hoc staff deployed from NYSC scheme is entitled to N30,500 as allowances.
Some corps members in Ogun State who preferred only one of their names published for fear of victimization stated that they risked their lives during the elections, as they could have been attacked and killed in places where the vote was marred by violence.
Smith, a corps member who worked as a presiding officer, said that he is yet to receive payment for both presidential and governorship elections.
He explained how he lost his personal belonging to an an attack by thugs at his place of deployment.
“I lost two phones (one smart phone and a small phone for back-up) to the touts in Ijoko on the day the presidential election was postponed,” he said.
“After the postponement was announced, we were left alone by the Police and we had to struggle for survival. I had to leave early to have a proper sleep; but while returning, I was attacked by the touts in Ijoko and got robbed of two phones.”
He lamented that the only payment he got was N4,500 as training fee.
He also said he had to rush back to his Place of Primary Assignment (PPA) when the election was postponed by INEC.
“After everything I’ve gone through, N4,500 training fee is all I have received. Most of my colleagues have left but I had to wait not because of the payment but because I wanted to participate in my school’s forthcoming inter-house sports.”
Another corps member who simply identified himself as Israel and worked in Atan said he only got payment for the presidential election, describing the non-payment by INEC as “an act of betrayal”.
“Out of the two elections I worked in as an ad-hoc staff member, I was only paid for presidential. Despite all the challenges we went through, they still postponed the presidential election. As of then, some had not collected their training allowances, but we still came out en masse to conduct the election.
“Now they betrayed us, the money we all worked for, our entitlement, to get it is like a war. I feel so bad. We corps members volunteered to serve our fatherland; we don’t deserve this from INEC.”
Some corps members in Abia State who are yet to be paid by the commission also voiced their anger.
One of the corps members said: “Unfortunately, despite our commitment and dedication to ensuring a hitch-free election, all we can get as compensation is to keep waiting hopelessly for the payment of our election duties, and the possibility of getting incomplete payment.
“While some states have paid their corps members, those of us in Abia are in anguish anticipation for our election allowance, which has created a negative and extortionate intention in our hearts towards the INEC officials in Abia State.”
Another corps members serving in Abia who worked as an ad hoc staff member pleaded with the commission to immediately begin the payment of corps members who sacrificed their time and risked their lives for the smooth conduct of the 2019 elections.
Similarly, some corps members in Anambra State lamented the same fate.
A female corps member in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra said: “None of us in this Orumba North that worked for INEC at the election is yet to be paid.
“We all risked our lives in this dangerous state to work for INEC and we have not been paid.”
A corps member in Enugu State, who simply introduced herself as Daniella, bemoaned the lack of coordination by INEC regarding the payments.
She revealed that instead of the N30,500 announced by INEC, corps members in Enugu State were receiving N9,000 as allowance.
“Enugu State corps members are not happy because INEC has refused to pay them after the election, after all they went through during the election,” she said.
“We were told that our entitlement is N30,500, so why is Enugu State paying N9,000 to corps members? Perhaps most corps members haven’t seen the N9,000, which they claim is for the governorship election. How about the presidential election, the transportation and feeding allowances?”
Another corps member in Enugu said: “It is so sad to see that after all what we do and went through as INEC ad hoc staff, there is nothing to show for it.
“I want the INEC Chairman to please intervene because corps members serving in Enugu State feel if we don’t stand up for our right and nothing is done, some people out there who lack conscience will divert this money for themselves.”
In the same vein, in Kebbi State, corps members expressed dissatisfaction at the commission for paying different fees as allowances to corps members. While some were paid N20,000, some received N25,000.
“Why would INEC decide to create a disparity between the rate of pay for some ad hoc members of staff and others? Why would INEC decide to pay some N24,500 and others N20,000?” asked a male corps member who worked as a presiding officer.
Speaking for the commission, Rotimi Oyekanmi, INEC Chief Press Secretary, blamed human errors for the non-payment and disparities in payment in some states.
He said some corps members gave the wrong bank account details while some gave account number of their relatives.
“The information at our disposal is that all corps members are supposed to have been paid by now,”Oyekanmi explained.
“Some of them gave wrong account numbers; some of them gave the account number of their siblings and with the payment system of the Federal Government, once your account number does not match with your name, the money will bounce back.”
Still, he assured the corps members that the commission was working on paying all ad hoc who worked during the elections.