By Francis Onyeukwu
Awka – The National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) directorate in Anambra has appealed to the leadership of Anglican Diocese on the Niger to release its property at its Umunya temporary orientation camp.
Mr Aremu Kehinde, the Coordinator, NYSC, Anambra, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at NYSC permanent camp in Umuawulu, Awka South Local Government Area of the state.
The NYSC had used Progressive Secondary School, Umunya in Oyi, owned by the church as a temporary camp until October when the scheme relocated to its permanent camp at Umuawulu/Mbaukwu in Awka South Local Government Area.
Kehinde told NAN that when it became obvious that NYSC was to relocate, he wrote the bishop of the diocese informing him of the plan to move out NYSC property from Umunya.
“These NYSC property in Umunya include 1,000 units of mattresses, 600 units of double bunk beds, assorted furniture items, 12 water tanks, kitchen utensils and large changeover switch.
“Others are property of the three religious bodies – Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship (NCCF), Nigerian Association of Catholic Corpers (NACC) and Muslim Corpers Association of Nigeria (MCAN).”
Kehinde said at first when NYSC staff wanted to move the property, the supervisory Rev. Canon Marcel Emeh said that the bishop must give directive before NYSC could move them.
He said Emeh later told the workers that the bishop travelled out of the country and that nothing would be moved until he returned.
Kehinde said in spite of entreaties, the church refused to release the items which were clearly marked to be those of NYSC, noting that the situation had adversely affected the current camping.
“We have 1,888 corps members currently in camp in Anambra. Due to fears of possible challenge, 219 corps members deployed to Anambra are now camping in Enugu State, while 85 others are in Delta State,’’ he saod.
Kehinde said he was particularly worried by the action of the church on the activities of the three NYSC religious groups and expressed regrets that they had been forced to conduct their activities in the open.
Mr Peter Goma, President, NACC, Anambra, said the group had gone to Umunya three times to plead with Emeh to release the property but he refused.
“We managed to hire a canopy for the altar, while the congregation stays in the open during church service”, he said.
Mr Ephraim Aidoyin, the President of NCCF, and Abdulrazak Abdulrasheed of MCAN corroborated the account of Goma.
They said they resorted to levying NYSC to buy plastic seats and wood to commence preliminary activities.
When contacted by telephone, Emeh told NAN that he would no longer to speak on the matter.
He said “any person willing to find out the situation should wait until our bishop returns from overseas or go to our cathedral in Onitsha.”
Meanwhile, Mr Oseloka Offor, the Director of Communication, Diocese on the Niger, said that the church had invited NYSC officials to a meeting in Onitsha to resolve the issue.