Over four months after he was declared missing, the whereabouts of Shorunke Lukmon, a corps member serving in Zamfara State is still unknown, PREMIUM TIMES can report.
Mr. Shorunke, a graduate of the Faculty of Education at the University of Ilorin, was declared missing in September 2016 after he left his home in Abeokuta to board a night bus to Zamfara.
Sources disclosed that he was on his way to the state for the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC Batch B Passing Out Parade held on October 6.
In December 2016, relatives of the corps member had lamented the attitude of the NYSC authorities towards their plight, saying that the government had failed them.
In separate interviews with PREMIUM TIMES, the relatives had called on Nigerians to plead with the authorities to intensify efforts to locate the missing corps member.
PREMIUM TIMES finding, however, indicate authorities may not be conducting any thorough investigation to find Mr. Lukmon.
Earlier in December, when PREMIUM TIMES contacted the NYSC legal adviser, Tijani Ibrahim, he said the case had been referred to both the Oyo and Zamfara states NYSC co-ordinators, as well as the Oyo State Police Command.
But when contacted, the Oyo State Police Public Relations officer, Adekunle Ajisebutu, said the force was not briefed about any such case by the NYSC.
“I am not aware of that (Mr. Sorunke’s case),” he told PREMIUM TIMES. When our correspondent tried to probe further, he did not respond to calls and text messages sent to his phone.
Similarly in December, the NYSC Public relations officer in Oyo, Simeon Bankole, had told PREMIUM TIMES that the Oyo State NYSC had not been officially briefed by the NYSC authorities.
He disclosed that he only heard about the case when two relatives of Mr. Shorunke cried to the NYSC secretariat around October 2016. He suggested that since Mr. Shorunke served in Zamfara, the Oyo NYSC would need to be briefed before it could act on the case.
In the third week of January, when PREMIUM TIMES confronted Mr. Ibrahim with details of its findings, he attributed the delay in handling of the issue to the change in the NYSC leadership of the two states.
“The state co-ordinators in Zamfara and Oyo states have been changed,” he said.
He promised to get back to our correspondent on the case but he never did. Calls and messages sent to his phones were not replied, either.
It is unclear whether NYSC indeed filed a report to the two states as, despite the leadership changes, the states could still have worked on the case if a report was filed.
Efforts to speak with Bose Aderibigbe, the national spokesperson of the NYSC, proved abortive. She did not pick calls or respond to text messages sent to her number. The NYSC authorities in Zamfara, too, could not be reached.
When contacted on Monday, the Oyo state NYSC Public relations officer, Mr. Bankole said there was no update on the case as the Oyo NYSC had still not been briefed on the case.
Again, efforts by PREMIUM TIMES to reach the Oyo Police spokesman, Mr. Ajisebutu, on Thursday proved abortive. He did not pick his calls or respond to text messages.
In his reaction, Abubakar Abdul-karim, a friend and colleague who served with Mr. Shorunke said “Lukmon is a young, committed, promising and aspiring youth who gave his best in the service of his fatherland. He was declared missing since Wednesday 21st September 2016 and till we speak he has not been found or heard from.”
In a chat with PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Abdul-karim accused the NYSC of doing nothing about the case.
“Even after filling an official report to the police and the NYSC management, they have done little or nothing to bring back this young lad home. The most annoying and discouraging part is the refusal of the NYSC management to issue a statement to this regard to either affirm or deny his disappearance,” he said.
“The government has failed this young promising man. As a friend, I see this country as not worth fighting or dying for. The government through the relevant agencies (police, state security service, and National Youth Service Corp) should help bring Sorunke Lukmon Olayiwola back home.”
“Let security agencies be more proactive with security report, regardless of who is involved. They should not act based on how influential the victim is. Every human life is sacred and should be treated as such. All animals are equal, the notion that some are more equal than others should be jettisoned.”