FG gives murdered corpers' families N5m each

THE PUNCH Newspaper- Ihuoma Chiedozie

President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday announced a token N5m monetary compensation for each of the families of the 10 National Youth Service Corps members killed in the violence that trailed the presidential elections in some Northern states.

In addition to the monetary compensation, one unemployed graduate sibling of each of the late corps members will be offered automatic federal employment.

Also, all other NYSC members injured during the riots will gain automatic employment into federal establishments on the completion of their service.

Addressing the 10 bereaved families at the Council Chambers of the State House, Jonathan said the NYSC members did not die in vain.

He promised that they would be immortalised “as an enduring source of inspiration” to all Nigerians.

Jonathan said, “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 immortalised as an enduring source of inspiration to us all.

“I appreciate the fact that no amount of recognition can adequately compensate for the deep void that their passing has created in your individual families.

“However, in demonstration of our gratitude for the supreme sacrifice that they have paid in the service of Nigeria, I have decided that each of the 10 families of these gallant young men and women will receive a token monetary compensation of N5m.

“You may wish to proceed directly from this meeting to the NYSC secretariat as I have directed the Director-General, Brig.-Gen. Ismaila Tsiga, to pay out this money immediately.

“In addition, each of the families which has an unemployed graduate who is a direct sibling of the deceased could forward the names of such persons to the Director-General for processing automatic employment in the Federal Civil Service.

“With regards to those who suffered varying degrees of injuries, additional to my earlier directive that the state governments take charge of their medical bills, the Federal Government hereby guarantees each of them automatic employment on completion of their national service.”

Noting that the monetary compensation was not enough, the President said his gestures were “not meant to compensate for the lives lost or for disabilities suffered.”

He described their deaths as tragic and vowed that perpetrators of the post-election violence would not go unpunished.

Jonathan said, “Let me seize this opportunity to state in the clearest terms possible that this administration is resolved to ensure that all those who may have been directly or indirectly responsible for this national tragedy face the full weight of the law.

“The culture of impunity must stop in this country. Tomorrow (today), I will formally inaugurate the Fact-finding Committee which will undertake a thorough investigation of the unfortunate incident.

“I want to assure you that those found culpable will be brought to justice.”

The President enjoined all Nigerians to honour the memory of the dead NYSC members by rededicating themselves to the peace and unity of the country.

The dead NYSC members whose families were represented at the meeting are, Adewunmi Seun Paul (Ekiti); Ukeoma Chibuzor (Imo); Ukazeoma Chukwunonyerem (Imo); Oladele Tosin (Kogi); Ibrahim Sule (Kogi); Gbejo Akintunde (Osun); Adeniyi Jelil (Osun); Anyanwu Agnes (Imo); Okpokiri Obinna (Abia); and Adohe Elliot (Bayelsa).

Speaking on behalf of the families, Mr. Atuche Okpokiri expressed regrets that the NYSC and other relevant authorities did not get in touch with them in time to inform them that their children had been killed in the riots.

“Communication was nothing to write home about; most of the families did not know anything about the death of their children until several days later”, he said.

Okpokiri also told Jonathan that some of the families were denied transport fares for the trips to Abuja by NYSC offices in their states.

Calling for a review of the NYSC scheme, Okpokiri stressed that “no compensation would be meaningful until the perpetrators are brought to book.”

He urged the President to ensure that “this sacrifice which these children have done should be the last sacrifice towards the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria and the unification of the country.”

Meanwhile, the Presidency has described as “unfortunate and regrettable”, reports that the Congress for Progressive Change justified the killings of the NYSC members.

It said in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Ima Niboro, on Tuesday that the CPC action amounted to an open admission that its supporters were indeed behind the violence.

The statement reads in part, “This attempt by the CPC to justify the unfortunate carnage and bloodletting is vexatious in the extreme.

“It amounts to rubbing salt on the raw wounds of families who lost dear ones, and those who were maimed and lost valuable property to the carnage.

“It also amounts to an open admission that the party’s supporters were indeed behind the violence, and that the party may well have planned it all.

“Obviously, therefore, the riots couldn’t have been as a result of the conduct of the presidential elections in those areas where the bulk of the killings took place.

“The CPC justification of murder and arson must be condemned by all. It is wicked, callous and insensitive.”


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