Members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Igbo-Etiti Council of Enugu State have accused Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials of diverting their election duty allowance worth over N2.6 million.
The corps members said the officials had been delaying payment of the allowance, four months after the gubernatorial elections in the state, with non-acceptable excuses.
They alleged that the delay was a strategy to ensure that all corps members who participated in the electoral duty pass out and forget the money.
Speaking to The Guardian at the weekend on condition of anonymity, the graduates said they had been forced by NYSC rules to keep silent on the matter, as doing otherwise might lead to sanctions, including seizure of certificates or extension.
According to them, the money comprises N13,000 for about 200 corps members. They were supposed to receive a total of N30,500 (N4,500 training fee and N13,000 each for gubernatorial and presidential election). But they claimed that they received only N17,500.
A Corps Liaison Officer (CLO) said: “My heart and that of other corps members are embittered because we suffered for that election, starting from transporting ourselves to the training venue and sleeping at INEC office while the election was cancelled under the cold weather, yet someone still has the mind to keep our pay. We have written and submitted our bank details countless times, yet no payment, while others in other states were getting theirs.
“Corp members kept complaining to me, and I complained to my Local Government Inspector (LGI) and Electoral Officer (EO), who kept promising to pay us. They finally paid us the first N13,000.”
The LGI, who confirmed the incident, said it had become worrisome that none of the corps members in the council had received the second tranche of the payment.
When The Guardian reached the EO, he declined comment, referring the reporter to the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC).
However, when the reporter contacted the Operation Officer, INEC Office, Ogbede, Enugu State, Chijioke Chukwuani, he said he was in a meeting and promised to call back, but was yet to do so at the time of filing this report.