The biggest dream of every prospective corps member is to be deployed to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja. Most of them go extra mile lobbying to influence their deployment to serve in Abuja. As the seat of power, it is practically the land of opportunities.
Even when state governments and private firms provide free accommodation with good monthly salary and working condition, many will still reject those tempting offers with the expectation of a more comfortable life and after service job prospects.
For many, it has usually turned a dream come true, yet to many others, they unfortunately realised too late that not all that glitters are gold. The reverse has usually been the case especially for most them who realise too late the difficulty of securing decent accommodation, juicy ministry or firm to serve and pathetically surviving with the monthly stipends of N19, 800.
While some are disappointed by family members and friends that promise them goodies, others are left with the option of becoming errand boys and girls.
A 27 year-old corps member and an Akwa Ibom indigene, Anthony Uduak, told Daily Sun that he celebrated his deployment to Abuja, only to realise too late the difficulty that awaited him.
“Serving in Abuja is very challenging for me. At first, when I got posted here, I was really excited. I had a fun-filled time in camp but when I left camp, the struggle became tough. From securing accommodation to getting a place for my primary assignment , it was like the camel passing through the eye of needle.
“The expensive accommodation in Abuja was my first baptism of fire. The least I could get was N160,000 for a room and it is even outside the city centre. When I tried to calculate, I realised that it was so impossible for me to pay such amount of money considering my paltry N19,800 monthly allowance, in addition to the fact that I have family responsibility as a young man from an average home.
“So, getting to pay such huge amount of money was a problem for me. Solution came when I linked up with two other corps members facing similar challenge and we agreed to pull resources together to pay for a decent house.
“After sorting out the accommodation problem, I was confronted with the challenge of securing a place of primary assignment. It was really stressful and sadly, I was rejected five times before I finally got accepted in an organisation where I am currently serving.
“Every rejection I got I had to go back to the secretariat to file for another PPA which cost me more in terms of transportation. But after getting a PPA, it turned out unfortunate for me because my place for primary assignment was a long distance from the accommodation we collectively paid. Movement to and fro home cost me a fortune.
“So serving in Abuja is not easy. I urge the FCT Minister to build accommodation like ‘Corpers’ lodge’, provided by some state governments for corps members in different areas in Abuja. It will help provide temporary shelter for those serving for the period of the exercise,” he appealed.
Another corps member in Abuja, Mitchell Onyeka, frowned at the way most of them are used as errands boys and girls in many offices. She disclosed that she hardly learns anything in the office because staff members push her around to buy food for them.
“The major problem I am facing is finance to enable me transport myself and pay my rent. Again, in my PPA, the moment my colleagues knew that I was a corps member they turned me into an errand girl. Abuja corps members are not accorded respect. We do not get any modicum of respect as persons serving the country. I also had real big challenge struggling to get a PPA.
“ “Abuja is just too expensive for a corps member from the house rent to transportation. Most corps members are unable to save because of the cost of living in Abuja especially as some companies do not pay. I urge government to help us in any way they can,” she appealed.