The National Youth Service Corps Scheme is necessary for Nigerians who graduate before the age of 30 and it is an encounter numerous graduates anticipate.
The scheme, however, left distress in the family of Oluwatobiloba Popoola, a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife who was posted on Bayelsa State for service.
Mr Popoola was slaughtered on March 21 at Victory International School, Swali Yenagoa in Bayelsa State where he was posted for his primary assignment.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that some hoodlums assaulted the school while Mr Popoola and his partners were marking the students’ examination scripts. He finally died in the attack.
The victim’s brother, Jacob Popoola, told PREMIUM TIMES that the family was demanding a thorough investigation and justice for the victim.
“He lived with the owner of the school alongside his colleagues. In any case, I was approached 22 of March and informed that some gangsters assaulted Corps member in the school and that our child was killed. I left my workplace immediately.
“I proceeded to Oyo NYSC office and they disclosed to me the report they heard was that they were assaulted while marking examination scripts,” Jacob said.
He said the Bayelsa State NYSC coordinator later requested that the family apply to convey the corpse to Oyo State. The body arrived at the state on March 30 and was given over to the family for burial.
“When they came, the NYSC representative brought the sum of N100,000 as encouragement expense which I at first rejected. but the NYSC coordinator got back to arguing that the family should take the cash and we in the end did.
“Our worry was, in any case, that the owner of the school or any delegate of the school where he was serving did not by any means call or demonstrate any compassion, in spite of the way that NYSC disclosed to us that they had given our contact details to the school. He at that point revealed to us they will never send corps members to the place again.”
The family said the refusal of the school to appear and clarify how their child was slaughtered denied the family consolation of getting a clear picture of the incident.
“We likewise expected that the police would get in touch but they refused until last week ago that the Bayelsa State Police spokesperson called to apologize for the police force”, he said.
“The police emphasized that our child should not have joined with the gangsters. Be that as it may, sadly, we are yet to realize the means being taken for justice.”
The mother of the deceased, Mrs Oladoyinbo, said her child was never a cultist or included with any unlawful gathering.
“We need the police to get to the root of this matter and enable justice to prevail,” she said.
School Proprietor Mum
PREMIUM TIMES made several efforts to reach out to the Proprietor of Victory International School, Jerry Yeseme, in Yenagoa; but the efforts did not yield success.
When PREMIUM TIMES first contacted him, Mr Yeseme told our correspodent to send him text messages.
He has, however, refused to respond to subsequent calls and text messages on the matter. He also blocked this reporters phone number from reaching him.
When PREMIUM TIMES contacted the Bayelsa State coordinator of NYSC, Loto B. O, she said the scheme had sympathised with the family of the deceased.
A letter of condolence obtained by PREMIUM TIMES reads: “With our heart full of grief, the director general of NYSC, staff and all corps members in Bayelsa State sympathise with the family of Popoola over the death of a patriotic Corps member”
“The death came as great question to us coming at a time when the family and the nation needed him most. Words cannot express how we feel. But we pray the Almighty God will give the departed soul eternal rest and the family fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”
The Bayelsa State Police spokesperson, Asinim Butswat, said he was supprised that the school where the incident happened had not reached out to the family of the deceased.
“I have been included with the sibling of the deceased, Jacob. I comprehend the family’s predicament concerning the passing of their child. We have guaranteed them justice will be done by arresting and prosecuting the ”culprits.”
He said a careful investigation was ongoing on the matter.
On the carelessness of the school where the incident occurred, the police spokesperson stated: “I would not know why he didn’t reach out to them. In what manner will someone adding to your school be murdered without you showing interest in what happened to his family? I will try again and stay in contact as the investigation goes on.”