Fresh details have emerged on why some top officers in the Nigerian Armed Forces mounted pressure on the legislators to pass a bill seeking to establish a trust fund for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme.
According to multiple sources, the action is a grand plot to use the trust fund as a retirement package for top military officers, especially Director Generals who are always appointed from the army.
The Senate passed the bill seeking to establish the trust fund in June 2022, while the House of Representatives passed the bill earlier in April 2022.
The Trust Fund established under Section 3 of the Act covers all corps members, personnel of the NYSC, orientation camps, formations, and facilities, and it is meant for the overall improvement and efficiency in the discharge of their duties and responsibilities.
The Trust Fund is to operate concurrently with the National Youth Service Corps Scheme from the commencement of the bill.
Part 4 section (1) stipulates thus: “A levy of 1 per cent of the net profit of companies and organised private sector operating a business in Nigeria; 0.2 per cent of total revenue accruing to the federation account; any take-off grant and special intervention fund as may be provided by the federal, state, and local government.
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“Aids, grants, and assistance from international bilateral and multilateral agencies, non-governmental organisations, and the organised private sector; as well as such money as may be appropriated to meet the objective of this Act by the national assembly in the budget.”
Also, any money that is derived from investments made by the Trust Fund.
According to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity, it is however seen as a slush fund for the military, where monies are disbursed to top military officers at the behest of the Chief of Army Staff.
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The current DG of the NYSC is Brig. Gen. Mohammed Fada while the immediate past DG is Major General Shuaibu Ibrahim.
“As a DG of the NYSC, you are mandated to service top military officers. This was the trend until the former DG, Major General Shuaibu Ibrahim proposed the NYSC Trust Fund, where it was systematically positioned to take care of the retirement needs of senior officers.
“The NYSC Trust fund will provide funding for these officers through proxies that would receive monies on their behalf. I can tell you there is excitement within the top echelon of the military, and they have consequently mounted pressure for its speedy passage into law.”
Another source who is an aide to a member of the House of Representatives stated that the pressure to pass the bill has been tremendous, mainly from the military.
“During the tenure of the immediate past DG of the NYSC, Major General Ibrahim, the DG was in the habit of making financial offers to members of the committee. At some point, he offered to concede the contract for the supply of essential items at the various orientation camps to the lawmakers if they could pass the bill in record time. I think he succeeded in a way given the bill’s speedy passage.
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“The former NYSC DG ensured that most of the members of the House of Representatives were taken care of in numerous ways.
“The rot in the NYSC is phenomenal. Let us forget the public posturing concerning the benefits of the NYSC Trust Fund. If only Nigerians knew what went on behind the scene. And the question was that if indeed the NYSC Trust Fund is meant to serve the country, then why the desperation to get it passed,” the source said.
It was also gathered from reliable sources that the former DG, Ibrahim concocted the bulk of the provisions of the NYSC Trust Fund to attract more funds at their disposal to continue serving specific interests.
“The NYSC Trust Fund is not what people think; rather, it is another avenue for attracting more funds from the pool to do the bidding of some powerful elements within the Nigerian military, under whose supervision the NYSC falls,” a top official of the scheme told SaharaReporters.
“To show you it’s deliberate; the new NYSC DG is also singing the same tune as the former DG. He has been leading the charge to ensure the bill’s signing into law. I can assure you that the bulk of the monies realized would end up in private pockets.
“We discovered that for proposing the NYSC Trust Fund, the former DG of the scheme was rewarded with a promotion to the rank of Major General, the first of such in the annals of the NYSC. The Nigerian military was really pleased with the outgone DG of the NYSC.
“I can tell you that the DG would have remained in office with the promotion. Even at that, it is on record that he is the first DG that was promoted to the next rank while still in office. This was in reward for taking care of the powers in the country.
“It is more like a tradition; once you assume headship of the NYSC. The NYSC Trust Fund is more like taking it to the next level, hence the agitation for its speedy implementation by the powers up there.”
SaharaReporters gathered that the former NYSC DG had perfected plans to continue receiving financial benefits throughout his lifetime through the NYSC Trust Fund.
“By the time the NYSC Trust Fund is signed into law, the former DG who initiated the idea will go home with a princely sum every month. This has been strategically worked out and awaiting implementation. Nigeria is indeed an interesting country. These military people know how to take care of themselves,” the source added.
“The lawmakers are not left out of the largesse too. There is always something for those who worked for the passage of the bill in the Senate and House of Representatives.”
Efforts to reach Eddy Megwa, Director, Press and Public Relations of the NYSC were not successful and he did not answer calls from SaharaReporters.