An indigene of Akwa Ibom State and multiple award-winning journalist, Mr Ibanga Isine, has raised the alarm over the silence of the National Youth Service Corps since the abduction of eight of its members in Zamfara State.
The corps members were en route to Sokoto for their national assignment about 27 days ago.
In a carefully crafted letter laced with innuendos, Isine expressed his worry and concerns over the situation
The letter titled, ‘Free Kidnapped Corps Members: An Open letter’, was addressed to the NYSC Director-General, Yushau Dogara Ahmed and copied to President Bola Tinubu; President of Senate, Godswill Akpabio; National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu; Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar and Minister of State, Defence, Bello Matawalle. It was obtained by our correspondent on Monday.
It reads, “If anyone were in doubt, your intimidating profile on the NYSC website would easily convince them that you came to the job with more than a smattering of experience and qualification and you proved it when you swung into action as soon as you reported for duty on January 30 by announcing your policy thrust with the first focal area being on “improving security, welfare of corps members and staff to engender optimal service delivery to the nation.” That was a bold move and that is why I am here to appreciate you again, from the bottom of my heart.
“With due respect, General, how do you sleep in the night knowing that peoples’ children who simply answered the call to serve their country are languishing in the camp of brigands who can take their lives at any time?
“If your child or that of President Bola Tinubu was captured in this way, would you act as if nothing had happened or that you were not responsible for them just because they did not make it to the camp?
While noting that he grew up in a community where respect is accorded soldiers with red gorget especially during the civil war, the award winning journalist however expressed disappointment that the DG hasn’t raised any fingers since the NYSC members were kidnapped
“Unfortunately, as a “brave” soldier, you haven’t raised a finger or said anything since the youngsters were forcibly “mobilised,” and neither the former governor of Zamfara, Bello Matawalle, who is now minister of state for defense, has done anything, presumably because they aren’t his children.
“Nigeria is indeed a huge crime scene, sorry, I meant a great country. It is the only country in the world to entrust the management of its national defense systems to someone who failed terribly as governor, was nearly chased out of government house by brigands until he began paying ransom, and was under investigation for kleptomaniac tendencies.
“Only in a fantastic nation (don’t mind one former British PM who said we are fantastically corrupt) like Nigeria, I suppose. And for this, we appreciate President Tinubu. He has done so well.
“But General Dogara, could you put yourself in the place of the disconsolate parents of those youth for a second and imagine that they were your own children so you could tell me how it feels?
“Or should I tell you what your Sokoto State Coordinator, Usman Yakubu-Yaro told some friends of the victims when they got in touch with him shortly after they got news of the illegal mobilisation?
“One Diana Godwin, who sent a direct message to me on my Facebook Messenger account said Malam Yakubu-Yaro said the NYSC cannot do anything since the youngsters did not make it to the camp. I don’t believe the coordinator could have been so callous and insensitive to say a thing like that but action, they say, speaks louder than words.
“The resonating silence of a redneck general led-NYSC, the inaction of the minister of women affairs and chief defender of an alleged rapist, and the inexcusable inability of Nigeria’s security forces and police to take concrete action to rescue the prospective corps members about a month after they were abducted speak to the shame of the metaphoric giant of Africa” Isine said
He continues, “No, really, what am I saying? I had completely forgotten that our armed forces are gearing up to lead a regional force to oust the junta in the Niger Republic and restore power to the country’s “democratically elected” leader. I also failed to take into account the fact that bandits are immune to law enforcement, and that state governors must pay them off before they will remain calm.
“They have a monopoly of violence and that is why they can wipe out communities, break into a medium-security prison less than 35 kilometers from Aso Rock Villa, shoot down military warplanes and record videos, attack a leading military university, and kill and abduct senior officers with no consequences.
“But General, Sir, you know how much respect I have for you, and that’s why I’m pleading with you to take decisive action like a soldier right now.
“As a man in charge of the lives of thousands of young people who are being trained to serve a country that does not serve them, your actions so far drip with insensitivity, inhumanity, and lack of empathy. You may also be interested to know that the bandits raised the ransom from N4 million to N10 million and have already collected N14 million from distressed parents with a fresh demand for more money.
“Only an idiot like me would believe that the Nigerian security forces and the DSS are unaware of where the bandits are hiding those children. Since you and I both know that the eight young graduates had no business boarding the AKTC bus to Sokoto State until you sent them letters instructing them to report there for mobilisation, I beg you to get them released in the name of everything you hold sacred.”
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