The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has placed blame on the eight corps members who were abducted in August while traveling to Sokoto State for their primary assignment, sparking controversy and concerns from the victims’ families.
SaharaReporters first reported on August 23, 2023, that eight corps members had been kidnapped by suspected terrorists on their way to a camp in Zamfara State on Monday, August 21, 2023. These young graduates, fresh out of universities, were embarking on their one-year mandatory national service.
The corps members were traveling in an Akwa Ibom Transport Company (AKTC) bus from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, to Sokoto State when their vehicle was intercepted by the hoodlums. Although there were reportedly 11 corps members and the driver in the bus, three of the corps members managed to escape during the attack. However, the remaining eight corps members and the driver were abducted.
Among those kidnapped were Emmanuel Esudue, a graduate of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering from Akwa Ibom State University, and Victoria Udoka, a graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Uyo.
In response to the abduction, the Nigeria Police Force and the army organized a search party for the kidnapped corps members. However, the families of the victims expressed frustration and accused security agencies and the NYSC of not showing enough concern towards their plight.
In an unexpected turn of events, the NYSC Director of Press and Public Relations, Eddy Megwa, shifted blame onto the abducted corps members themselves. According to him, the corps members disregarded NYSC’s warning against embarking on night journeys, which, he believes, may have led to their unfortunate ordeal.
Megwa explained during an interview with Channels TV that NYSC had explicitly cautioned corps members not to travel at night. This warning was included in their call-up letters, which stated that they should stop their journeys and find a safe location after 6 p.m.
He further elaborated on the situation, stating, “Now this issue in question, they got to that point around 8 pm, and that Funtua Road is very deadly. All passengers, the moment they got to that place by 6 p.m., they parked, but this driver continued with his trip.”
Megwa emphasized that the NYSC was actively working on security measures to prevent such incidents from happening in the future. He assured that the organization had taken proactive steps, even before the commencement of orientation camps, to emphasize the importance of avoiding night travel.
The situation has raised concerns over the safety of corps members during their service year, highlighting the need for greater attention to security and adherence to safety guidelines. Families of the abducted individuals continue to demand action to secure the safe return of their loved ones, while the NYSC remains committed to preventing such incidents in the future.