On April 19, the Bauchi State Commissioner Of Police, Mr. John Abakasanga reported that four serving members of the NYSC were killed in Bauchi State. According to the Commissioner, rioters raided a building housing about fifty-one youth corpers, killing four and wounding several others. Subsequent reports show that the death toll has risen to eleven in Bauchi alone. Estimated figures are much higher with at least twenty-five corpers presumed dead in each of the Northern states where violence has erupted.
Perhaps more disturbing than these killings is the lack of a swift, coordinated reaction by the authorities. Other than its resolve to give the murdered corpers a well-deserved state burial and compensate their families, the federal administrators have not come up with concrete plans to forestall further violence against corpers. As state governments continue to evacuate indigenous corps members from hotspots, the inability of the Nigerian state as a whole to protect its citizens becomes more glaring.
Yet, nothing could be worse than the recent imprudent, ill-timed comments of Bauchi State governor, Isa Yuguda as reported by The Punch and NEXT on Friday, April 29. In an interview with journalists after casting his vote in yesterday’s rescheduled elections in the state, Yuguda said, “as far as I am concerned, these corps members were destined to experience what they experienced during the course of their service to their fatherland because every new day is a new experience to each and every one of us as human beings.
“You cannot hold Yuguda or Bauchi State (responsible) for what happened to those corps members, because it was the responsibility of INEC to take care of them”, he continued carelessly.
Isa Yuguda‘s mindless statements show that he has neglected what is unarguably his most important responsibility as a governor- to ensure the security and well-being of every individual, indigene or not, within the borders of the state. Violent death is not anyone’s destiny, and the governor’s insinuation that the painful deaths of the unfortunate corpers was somehow ‘written in the stars’ is capable of inflaming the situation and prompting reprisals from embittered parties.
If you were not convinced then, now more than ever before, this unfortunate statement should convince you that there is a need to stand up and do something to protect the youth corps members across the country.
This is why The Future Project (which runs The Future Awards), in partnership with the National Youth Council, AIESEC, SleevesUp Nigeria, Friends of Aik, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria and the EnoughisEnough Nigeria Coalition, is working to bring a much-desired change to the scheme and character of the NYSC.
In a nationwide campaign, The Future Project and its partners are, through advocacy and lobbying, “implementing a solution-oriented approach that involves: a) engaging government on a policy level to restructure and reform the NYSC in order to protect corps members in the interim and then to completely overhaul the scheme in the long term so that it is actually useful to the nation; and b) supporting this policy engagement with a wide-ranging public and media campaign to ensure pressure is sustained on the government.”
At the core of this campaign for change is a petition which is made up of seven major demands geared at protecting youth corpers now and in the future. The petition, which requires 100, 000 signatures, will be forwarded to the Presidency in the hopes that the government of the day will do what it was elected to do- protect the precious citizens of this democratic nation.
This is a cause for saving lifes now and in the future. Show your support now by seeing the 7 point demand and and signing the petition at http://www.thefuturenigeria.com/protectthecorpers/ .
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