Bolaji Badmus, a former National Youth Service Corps 2012 Batch ‘B’ member is not having the best time of his life right now. What should have been a day of joy and relief, having completed the mandatory one year National Youth Service programme is rather a day of uncertainty for him. Yesterday, the Batch ‘B’ corps members across the country completed their service year and were given their NYSC Certificates. However, like thousands of other youths across the country, Bolaji is unsure of what the future holds for him.
“What does the future hold for me? What options do I have now?” He asks himself.
Like lots of other Youth Corps members, Bolaji dreamed of working in a bank during his service year. Luckily, his dreams came to fulfillment but ended suddenly at the end of his service year. His hopes of getting retained were dashed as the bank he worked in did not retain any Corps Member for full time employment.
“At least during service year, I was sure of my N19,800 allowance and my salary from the bank. Now I’m not sure of anything. I know a lot of people who have finished serving for one, two years and are yet to get jobs now. It’s like I’m back to square one,” he said.
Sadly, his story is similar to that of other former youth corps members across the country. For one year, the Federal Government pays an allowance of N19,800. Though small, the money is like gold to the corps members who are reassured by the ‘certainty’ of getting their allowances paid. In some states, they are paid an additional allowance by the state and local governments, which when added to the salaries paid by their Place of Primary Assignment, offers them some form of security. However, most of the corps members don’t get retained at their places of work and adding this to the thousands who have to return back to their home states after their service year, it further enlarges the unemployment pool in the country.
In Kaduna state yesterday, lots of youth corps members after collecting their certificates, held demonstrations against the Kaduna State government over its failure to pay their final allowance of N30,000 each. The State government had initially promised to pay them N30,000 upon completion of their service year but they didn’t get these funds yesterday and were upset about it.
But that is just Kaduna state. Most states don’t even have such financial benefits given to Youth Corps members at the end of their service year to get them started in any business endeavour they desire. For those that have, the options are few and the process of getting such loans or start-up capital is quite stringent.
Now, thousands of Youth Corps members have again been thrown into the already saturated unemployment pool with very few hopes of securing well-paying jobs within a short period.
Have you recently completed your National Youth Service? Were you retained at your Place of Primary Assignment or are you like Bolaji, now job searching? Did your state government offer you any financial incentives to kick start your career/business?
What can the Federal Government do to ensure that there are good options for employment or starting a business for youths after their service year?
Please share your thoughts.