How NYSC Management’s Failure To Comment On Fatal Shooting Of Linda Igwetu Fuels Calls For Its Scrapping

Posted on July 05 2018 , at 05:37 pm
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In the early hours of July 4th, Linda Angela Igwetu, a 23-year-old serving corps member undergoing mandatory one-year NYSC service to her nation was killed by a police officer in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.

Linda, according to her sister Chinenye who broke the news was supposed to pass out today with her fellow batch A colleagues after completing her NYSC.

She and a couple of friends had gone out to celebrate the occasion before the official passing out ceremony and were returning home at about 3 am when they got to a checkpoint around Ceddi Plaza. This is where she was shot by a police officer named Benjamin Peters. The bullet hit her on her side, by the midriff, and she began losing blood before she died at the Garki Hospital.

Police officer Benjamin Peters

It was initially alleged that the hospital management refused to treat Miss Linda, requesting for a police report before commencing any action to save her life. However, the hospital has refuted the claims saying that contrary reports, they actually treated Linda and tried all they could to save her life.

Investigations have begun as several human rights have taken up the case to make sure that everyone found culpable in the case faces justice. Several hashtags have also been created to push conversation as Nigerians are calling for the persecution of Officer Benjamin Peters. The issues also came up for discussion in the Senate plenary with several committees set up to look into the matter and report back in 2 weeks.

While all these are going on, loud is the deafening silence by the management of the National Youth Service Corp. Since the news broke, there has been no statement from the headquarters of the scheme in reaction to the news, either in form of condolence or any action to show that they are investigating the situation.

This brings the question again, how relevant is the NYSC scheme still? While serving, corp members are made to understand that they are the property of the government and as such a responsibility of scheme, apparently, that not the case. A check on the official twitter handle of the NYSC @nysc_ng shows that the last time any form correspondence came from the NYSC account was on June 15. Even information on the passing out the batches isn’t communicated.

Technically, Linda was an employee of the NYSC scheme and it this unfortunate time, she has been abandoned by the same scheme she gave one year of her life in service to. The NYSC has been called out many times over their nonchalance in relation to the welfare and wellbeing and safety of serving corp members. It is even more irresponsible this time, the deceased was serving in the Federal capital territory where the headquarters of the NYSC is and yet, there has been no official statement from NYSC on the case, despite all the buzz this case is getting online. It just shows that someone isn’t doing his/her job.

Many people argue that she scheme has outlived its relevance and have called for the schemed to be scrapped as it only endangers the lives of young Nigerian’s who are usually used for government outreach projects like voter’s registration exercise, used as electoral officers and other ad-hoc engagements by the government. Most times, the corp members are faced with life-threatening incidents and some have lost their lives in the process.

As the search for justice for Linda’s murder continues to receive the echo that it deserves, The NYSC needs begin to do better in reacting to issues to concern young Nigerians in the scheme or the calls for the scheme to be scrapped will be justified.

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