A former corps member, Emmanuel Unogu, has been offered N100,000 by the National Youth Service Corps for the loss of his right leg during the service year.
Unogu, who served with the Urueffong/Oruka Local Government, Akwa Ibom State in 2008, was involved in an auto accident, which later led to the loss of his leg.
PUNCH Metro had reported on April 18, 2013 that Unogu was involved in the accident while on his way to Oron on October 26, 2008.
Although the state’s NYSC authorities were said to have been aware of the accident, Unogu allegedly did not receive proper medical attention.
By the time he contacted his father who took him to the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Imo State, Unogu’s broken leg had been infected with gangrene. The leg was later amputated due to the infection.
It was learnt that the NYSC eventually called the former corps member in February 2014 to intimate him of the organisation’s plan.
Unogu said, “After my lawyer had written many times to the NYSC, I got a call from them for the first time last month. A woman from the NYSC office Abuja told me that she wanted to confirm my identity. She told me that I would be paid N100,000 as compensation.
“Another person called me three weeks later to say that a cheque of N100,000 was being prepared and asked me for an account number that it would be paid into.
“Last week, another man called again. He said I should expect the cheque this week. I asked the man what the cheque was for; was the NYSC paying for the amputation of my leg or was the money meant to acquire a prosthetic leg?
“When I began to question the man, he had no reply. He just sympathised with me and asked me to take heart.”
In response to Unogu’s enquiries in 2008, the London Prosthetic Center had sent an estimate of £4,000 for a prosthetic leg, excluding transport.
Unogu’s lawyer, Mr. Benjamin Odeh, told PUNCH Metro that copies of the correspondence with the prosthetic hospital were attached to the letters sent to the NYSC office in Abuja concerning Unogu.
Already, the Akwa Ibom secretariat of the NYSC was said to have given N290,000 to Unogu as a refund on the amount he incurred as medical expenses while on admission at the FMC, Owerri.
Unogu said, “I was told by the NYSC, Akwa Ibom, after they refunded my medical expenses, that the rest was left for Abuja. But from the look of things, I don’t think the NYSC national secratariat is going to do anything reasonable. What I need now is the funds to get a prosthetic leg so I can live a normal life.”
Odeh expressed his disappointment at the N100, 000 that was offered as compensation to the former corps member.
He said, “It is unthinkable that a youth that was compulsorily enrolled to serve his country and lost his limb in the process, is being offered N100,000.
“What exactly is the money for? Is Unogu being paid for the amputation? As it is, we intend to file a suit against the Federal Government. The Attorney General of the Federation and the NYSC will be joined in the suit for the injustice Unogu has suffered.”
When the Assistant Director, Press, of the NYSC, Mr. Edie, was contacted, he said, “Has the person been paid? If he has not, then there is not much I can say. However, I am currently away from Abuja; I will be back next week. By then, I will be able to give you an informed response.” (Punch)