EU ministers meet amid rising migrants crisis

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  • 26 states owe corps members allowance –DG

EU ministers meet in Brussels later amid warnings the migrant crisis could threaten the bloc’s survival.

Austria and Balkan nations have agreed measures to restrict numbers, drawing criticism from Greece, where thousands have been left stranded after Macedonia blocked entry to Afghans.

Meanwhile Hungary has announced a referendum on whether to accept mandatory quotas of migrants.

More than 100,000 migrants have reached Europe so far this year.

In Brussels, EU interior ministers will hear plans drawn up by Austria and eight Balkan countries that include fingerprinting all entrants and turning back anyone without a passport or holding fake documents.

The countries have also pledged to accept only those they deem to be in need of protection, which has already been interpreted by some governments as meaning only Syrians and Iraqis.

Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner described the measures as a “chain reaction of reason” and warned that the crisis could threaten the EU’s survival if it was not brought under control.

But the plans drew sharp criticism from Greece, which threatened to block all decisions at an upcoming EU migration summit if member states did not agree to take in quotas of migrants.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said his country was turning into a “permanent warehouse of souls” and should not be left to deal with the crisis alone.

“From now on, Greece will not agree to deals if we do not secure the mandatory sharing of the burden and responsibility proportionally among member states,” Mr Tsipras said.

In the meantime, about 26 states are yet to pay backlog of allowances to serving and completed youth corps members. Some of these states owe such corps members up to two years of unpaid allowances.

Director-General of NYSC, Brigadier General Johnson Olawumi, who stated this yesterday in Katsina State, described the situation as disheartening and a challenge to the scheme.

Olawumi disclosed this during the opening ceremony of NYSC 2016 Batch ‘A’ Pre-Orientation Workshop at the conference hall of the state secretariat. He said failure by states to pay monthly allowance to corps members didn’t portray a good image, as the allowance was a statutory responsibility.

He said with continued neglect to pay such allowance, the scheme may have no option than to bring to public attention states that are defaulting on the matter.

“I wish to once again appeal to the state governments to passionately consider the welfare of corps members in their employ by ensuring prompt payment of their state allowances for transport and accommodation. “As at today, about 26 states owe corps members’ state allowance, with some owing as much as two years.

“This does not portray a good image of the states involved as corps members’ welfare provision is a statutory responsibility of the state governments. “The scheme may have no choice than to bring to public attention such states,” he added.

The DG said another issue facing smooth operation of the scheme was the rejection of corps memrebers by employers. Johnson said rather than reject corps members, “employers should utilise the services provided them to add value to their operations in order to achieve their mandates.”

He lamented appalling condition of some orientation camps, even as he called on state governments to pay “more attention to provision and maintenance” of camps in their states. Governor Aminu Bello Masari, represented by his deputy, Mannir Yakubu, expressed commitment to giving priority to the welfare of corps members.

BBC with additional report from National Mirror