Akwa Ibom state Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Sir Monday Uko, has commiserated with the families of the five dead would be corp members who died in a fatal road accident.
This was contained in a press statement signed by his Special Assistant Media, Mr Edidiong Stephen and made available to journalists in Uyo yesterday.
The Director General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig -Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, also commiserated with the families of the fallen Corps members directing that the NYSC flag be flown at half mast for three days in honour of the departed corps members.
The DG said this during a condolence visit to the families in the 2 Brigade Headquarters, Uyo yesterday.
The sad incident occurred along the Abaji/Kwali Expressway en route to Katsina state where these Corps members were posted for the mandatory orientation camp of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme.
An eyewitness account explained that the eighteen-seater bus conveying these prospective corp members from Uyo to Katsina was reported to have run into a stationary trailer in the wee hours of Wednesday, July 28 which resulted in the deaths and the hospitalization at a nearby hospital of several others who were also in the bus.
Uko said, “This incident is a colossal loss, with regret and deep-rooted despair that four of the deceased persons, comprising three males and one female, were proud indigenes of our beloved state who had distinguished themselves in character and learning in their academic pursuit.
“Having garnered the required knowledge and expertise in their respective areas of specialization, we observe that, this regrettable occurrence has deprived the state and country of the sterling contributions those heroic but fallen youths would have brought to bear in our continuing efforts at nation building and development.
“In addition to offering the assurance of the wholehearted support of state Government to the deceased families, the loved ones they have left behind as well as the entirety of the NYSC family in this moment of trepidation and beyond, it is also my prayer that God grants them the needed valour to bear through the immeasurable pain and anguish these irreplaceable losses must surely have caused them”.
The Commissioner commiserated with all those who are injured and gravely traumatized by the gory incident and prays for speedy recovery and peaceful repose of the loving souls of the departed corps members in God’s bosom.
NYSC DG said the news of the ghastly motor accident was a devastating blow to the entire family of NYSC and prayed God to grant the families the fortitude to bear the loss.
“Yesterday was a black Wednesday in NYSC, we woke up with sad news that five of our Corps Members lost their lives along Abuja-Abaji-Kwali Expressway.
“So, I have to rush down to the hospital to really confirmed if it was true and at last, it was true.
“We are completely devastated and diminished, because as a parent we know what it takes to train your child to this level. It is like an investment and it is an investment, but who are we to question God.
“There is nothing anyone can do, than to pray God Almighty to give you the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.
“The Corps Members were patriotic and was on their way to do the best for their country. It is quite unfortunate, sad and I lack words to console you.
“I want to assure you on behalf of NYSC management and the entire staff of NYSC that you, please accept our heartfelt condolences.
“We are directed to observe a minute silence and NYSC flag to fly at half mast for three days in memory of these heros,” Ibrahim said.
The DG reminded corps members not to embark on night travels to ensure safety.
Responding on behalf of the families, Rev. Isaiah Ekanem of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, uncle of late Victor Joseph Akpan, thanked the DG and NYSC management for the prompt visit.
Ekanem appealed to the Federal Government and NYSC to adequately compensate the families to cushion the trauma the families were passing through.
He suggested that corps members be mobilised within the geopolitical zones to avoid future occurrence.
“With the total submission to the will of God, what am seeing here will go along way to console the families. That God will also give us the fortitude to bear the loss.
“I am praying that the FG and NYSC will device better means to mobilise corps members to avoid future occurrence.
“If I am given opportunity, I will suggest two things; that FG and NYSC will limit the mobilisation to be within geopolitical zones as to avoid long distance travels,” he said.