President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday announced monetary compensation of N5m to each of the 10 families of the members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who lost their lives in the postpresidential election violence which broke out in some northern states last month.
The President has directed the immediate payment of the money to the families by the NYSC Director- General, Brig.-Gen. Maharazu Ismaila Tsiga. President Jonathan has also directed each of the families with unemployed graduates (direct siblings of the deceased) to forward their names to the directorgeneral for automatic employment in the Federal Civil Service. He announced the compensation package at a meeting with families of the corps members at the State House in Abuja and vowed that his administration would ensure that those responsible for the national tragedy face the full weight of the law, saying that the culture of impunity must stop.
The President added that those who suffered varying degrees of injuries, apart from the state governments taking charge of their medical bills, the Federal Government also promised them automatic employment on completion of their national service. While announcing the compensation, President Jonathan stated that no amount of compensation or recognition could adequately compensate the death of the corps members had created in the families. He said that the monetary compensation was in demonstration of the gratitude of the Federal Government for the supreme sacrifice the corps members paid in the service of their fatherland.
Jonathan told the families: “I invited you here this afternoon to afford me the opportunity to directly express the depth of my sadness at the unfortunate loss of your children, wards and relations on National Youth Service Corps members as a result of the unfortunate violence which erupted in parts of the country following the last elections. “My heart and indeed the hearts of all Nigerians go out to you all as you reconcile yourselves to the reality of the shock and the pain of losing vibrant young men and women of great promise and hopes of a fulfilling future ahead of them.
We all share in your grief. “This tragedy is even more sobering, considering that they died carrying out a national assignment that has served to effectively consolidate our democratic process. “The success of the 2011 elections and the wide international acclaim which the exercise has received was due in large part to the uncommon patriotism and diligence exhibited by the members of the National Youth Service Corps. “Your sons and daughters may be gone, but they have not died in vain. You can take some solace in the fact that they are today national heroes of whom every patriotic Nigerian is immensely proud.
Our administration holds them in the highest esteem and we are determined to ensure that their names are permanently immortalized as an enduring source of inspiration to us all.” Jonathan noted that the death of the corps members was a great loss to the nation and prayed that God imbued Nigerians with wisdom and understanding and to be driven at all times by the “values of loyalty, courage, dedication and faith in a strong, prosperous and united Nigeria which is the essence of the NYSC scheme.”
According to him, the nation must honour the memory of the corps members by ensuring the continued peace, unity, stability, growth and development of the country. “We must eschew any and all divisive tendencies and focus instead on emphasising the strength of our diversity and the renowned resilience and creativity that mark us apart as a uniquely gifted people,” Jonathan said.
Father of one of the deceased corps members, who spoke on behalf of other families, Mr. Owuchewu Okpokiri, thanked the President and all Nigerians for the compensation. The 10 corps members’ families compensated by the government are Adewunmi Seun Paul (Ekiti), Ukeoma Ikechukwu Chibuzor (Imo), Ukazeoma Anslem Chukwu (Imo), Dedi Olawale Tosin (Kogi) and Akuyi Ibrahim Sule (Kogi). Others are Gbenjo Ebenezer Ayotunde (Osun), Adeyi Kehinde Jelil (Osun), Anyanwu Agnes (Imo), Okpokiri Obinna (Abia) and Adowe Elliot (Bayelsa).