A survivor of the April 2011 attack on National Youth Service Corps members serving in Bauchi, Miss Omowunmi Adeniyi, has said that the Federal Government and the police have abandoned families of affected victims, saying the government never got in touch with the 11 families of injured persons and deceased victims.
Speaking during an event to mark the second year remembrance of the incident, organised by Friends of AIK, the former youth corps member said the attack, which affected Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Borno and Kaduna states was a reprisal to the refusal of corps members to rig the presidential election of April 17, 2011.
Adeniyi said on Thursday that policemen were present at a station in Giade Local Government during the attack, but could not protect the corps members.
“The police officers told us that the mobs were around and advised us to leave our lounges for the station. We had earlier heard that corps members in other local governments were being attacked with their lounges burnt,” she said.
“We ran to the station for refuge. The mob burnt down our lounges then came to the station when they did not meet us in there.
“The policemen could not protect us. They were only shooting tear gas carnisters, and when they ran out of ammunition, they ran away and left us there. A policewoman, who tried to rescue some of us, was killed.”
Adeniyi said her colleagues died as heroes during their mandatory national service, but expressed regret that they had quickly been forgotten, adding that the Federal Government made some promises to the families of the deceased and other victims, but nothing has been done two years after.
“We risked our lives in honour of our fatherland, but they have yet to honour us. The Federal Government made a lot of promises such as donation to the families, immortalisation of the deceased, automatic employment to graduate siblings of slain corps members and bringing the perpetrators to book.
“None of these have been fulfilled, except the donation to the families. No matter how much they gave out, nothing can compensate for the loss, but the fulfillment of the others might have at least put a smile on their faces.
“Two years now, nothing has been done, neither is anything heard. If we were appreciated, we will know that we did not serve for nothing, but rather we are forgotten.”
Following the development and several other related acts of negligence by the government, a member of Friends of AIK, an association founded with the aim of giving voice for justice, Mr. Iyke Onwurah, said the NYSC scheme should be scrapped or restricted to ethnic boundaries of the respective corps members.
“These youths ensured that there was no rigging of the 2011 presidential elections,” he said.
“We expect that what they died for would at least manifest. Let President Goodluck Jonathan stand for what these young ones died for, which is a change in Nigeria and it should become a part of national consciousness.”