- Category: Society
- Published on Tuesday, 26 April 2011 09:00
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General Manager/Chief Executive Officer of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Dr. Olufemi Osanyitolu, told Vanguard yesterday that the state government was targeting to evacuate no fewer than 350 corps members from the troubled areas.
The corps members, who lamented the ordeal they were put through in their states of deployment, said the intervention of the governor save them from being slaughtered by the anarchists.
They also expressed their appreciation to the military who provided a safe haven for them in Kano, pending their evacuation, adding that were it not for the military, they would have been killed, as the police had given up on them.
“Daddy, what will I say than to say thank you. When I thought there was no hope, God used you for me. I pray God will surprise you and reward you bountifully,” said Miss Simiat Afe-Ire, one of the corps members evacuated from Kano.
Explaining the circumstances surrounding the evacuation of the stranded corps members, LASEMA General Manager, Dr. Osanyitolu, said the agency received an emergency call from the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, asking for help, adding that this prompted Governor Fashola to issue a directive that the corps members be evacuated to prevent harm from coming their way.
He said: When the incident happened in the north, we knew there was a problem immdiately we got an emergency call from the NYSC. We swung into action, link up with their leader and started evacuation last Sunday.
“We have done two batches and have evacuated 84 of the corps members from Kano and Jigawa. We are expecting a third batch today (yesterday) and we are expecting to evacuate about 350 corps members, based on the information from the NYSC.”
ABOUT 200 members of the National Youth Service Corps from Ogun State serving in Bauchi State were yesterday brought to Abeokuta, the State capital after their evacuation from the troubled state.
The corps members who arrived Abeokuta at about noon lamented over their experience during the violent clashes but were particularly angry with the Ogun State Government for allegedly coming to evacuate them late.
Moreover, the angry youths who shouted angry words at the officials including the State Commissioner for Environment; Dr. Adekoya Adeleke Adedoyin said that the treatment meted out to them by the state government was not good enough.
They were eventually given N5, 000 each to transport themselves to their various homes.
Speaking with newsmen after the almost riotous situation had been brought down, the Commissioner for Environment; Dr. Adeleke Adedoyin said “I have seen the situation and I must tell you that this will be my third time of going to the North to rescue my people.
If I have my way, I will say honestly, there must be a re-think on the NYSC programme.
“Those who have escaped this terrible situation; we must make it possible for them not to go back there. They don’t want to go back, but we must address the situation. We are going to look into their complaints; they are in distress and government must do something for them. Those who have completed their programme, we will give them jobs.
“During the Jos crisis, we did similar thing, they have been asked to come back on Thursday toaddress their complaint. I felt bad that this type of situation occur. This is my third time of evacuating our own people from the North; I don’t want to experience this again. The government must have a rethink about this NYSC scheme.
“People who come form the north that are serving here, we don’t harm or kill them, but a small thing over there, and they get charged and kill our people. We can’t continue like this. That is not one Nigeria and I must tell you that I am tired of going to the North to evacuate, that’s not my job. The Federal Government must have a rethink about the NYSC programme. To me it can’t work.
To my mind it can’t work”.
In Ondo, 200 National Youth Service Corps members who are Ondo State indigenes were evacuated from Bauchi State.
Receiving them at the Government House, Governor Olusegun Mimiko urged them not to allow the incident to douse their sense of patriotism and remain committed to fostering national unity and development’
According to him, “we thank God and I congratulate you on being able to get home safely. I also thank God that you were not victims, I have to also encourage you not in any way allow this to dampen your sense of patriotism in this great nation.
“Every country goes through her own difficult times, but I still encourage you to still appreciate the fact that Nigeria is a wonderful country, a great nation. Our manifest destiny is that Nigeria will be a leader of nations” Mimiko exhorted the youths.
Responding on behalf of the corps members, Mr. Fisayo Ogunmola commended the State government for its prompt response to the situation, a development which he noted had further re-invigorated their confidence in the government’s concern for the welfare of its citizens.
His words: “We want to appreciate the government’s quick response to our plight and the demonstration of its caring heart posture which had saved our future as the country’s leaders.”
The State government, according to Ogunmola, in addition to other package, provided logistic support for their movement to their various destinations. He equally lauded Dr Olusegun Mimiko for ordering a comprehensive treatment of one of the evacuated youths, Miss Bolanle Elebiju who was injured in the fracas as well as another victim who is currently still receiving treatment in the North pending when he would be strong enough to be moved home.
Seventy out of about 200 corps members who are indigenes of Osun state in the northern states have been evacuated home following the directive by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, .
The corps members were brought home by a task force headed by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Adejare Bello.
The returning corps members were welcomed home on the premises of the Osun State parliament by the Speaker who lamented the appalling conditions under which the corps members lived before they were evacuated.
Receiving the returnees, Adejare Bello described the step taken by the Aregbesola administration as a demonstration of its sustained interest in the welfare of the people irrespective of where they reside within or outside the country.
Also, the Ekiti State Government has evacuated to the state, about 200 of its corps members serving in various northern parts of the country. The wife of the Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, whose office was responsible for the evacuation of the corps members, said that the exercise started since last Thursday.
Welcoming the NYSC members back to Ekiti State at the Government House in Ado-Ekiti, Erelu Fayemi, expressed sadness that the spirit and principles that led to the establishment of the NYSC scheme were now being abused.
A female youth corps member (name withheld) who hails from Ado-Ekiti, painted a horrible picture of what they went through in Kano but thanked God that they were brought back to the state.
Another male corps member, explained that their lodge was invaded and their belongings were vandalized while the lodge was about to be set ablaze before some neighbours came to their aid
He said they were all hidden in one room after which they made called to the NYSC officials who acted promptly.
The Akwa Ibom State Government has evacuated 83 of its own National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, members from Bauchi.
Governor Godswill Akpabio who disclosed this said a chartered aircraft brought the corps members from Gombe Airport to Ibom International Airport.
His words: “I was privileged to receive our brothers and sisters serving in Bauchi State. All of the corps members came without their belongings.
“We decided not to send a vehicle to pick them because we are not sure of the roads. Some people can ambush them and kill them in the name of politics.”
RIVERS, IMO, ABIA, OTHERS TOO
Also, the Rivers State government says it has commenced evacuation of its citizens from the violent prone areas.
In a statement, the State Information and Communications Commissioner, Mrs. Ibim Semeniari said that so far about 250 indigenes of the State have been moved back to the State.
According to the statement, those evacuated comprised mainly students, Youth Corpers of Rivers State origin and others who may want to come home as a result of the killings.
According to our investigation, others state that have also started evacuating its citizens include: Oyo, Imo, Abia and Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Osun states. (Vanguard