Relatives of a corps member declared missing in September, Lukmon Shorunke, say the government has failed them.
While speaking to PREMIUM TIMES in separate interviews, the relatives called on the Nigerian people to plead with the authorities to intensify efforts to locate the corps member.
Mr. Lukmon was a 2015 batch B Stream 1 Corps member serving in Anka Local Government Area of Zamfara State with code number ZM/15B/110. He was declared missing on September 21 and has since not been found.
In an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Kehinde Shorunke, a sibling of the missing corps member who spoke on behalf of the family, lamented the attitude of the federal government and the NYSC authorities towards the plight of Mr. Lukmon’s family.
“We’ve tried all our best to reach the government, all efforts remain futile. Reports have been made to different concerned agencies, visitations from one office to another have also been part of the efforts,” he said.
When asked about results of other concerted efforts made by friends and relatives of the corps members towards knowing his whereabout, Mr. Kehinde explained that the family had been rendered hopeless as all efforts to know his whereabout have proven futile. He also disclosed that they were being extorted by those they have been running to for help.
“We’re just being extorted. We’re now hopeless with regards to government’s intervention. We don’t mind any effort from the press. We don’t mind the voice being raised again. We could only resort to
prayer, prayer, and hope,” he said.
Mr. Kehinde said the actions of the government and its agencies so far have shown that the Nigerian state has failed Lukmon, who went missing while serving his fatherland.
“For me and other people directly or indirectly affected, it’s a big yes that the government has failed us thus far. I pray we can be convinced otherwise,” he said.
A colleague of Mr. Lukmon’s, Abubakar Abdul-karim, also lamented what he called the “poor way” the case was being handled by the NYSC authorities and the Federal Government. According to him, no meaningful development had been recorded about the case since September.
“The only meaningful development so far was the call made by the National Youth Service Corps through the Zamfara State coordinator acknowledging that Lukmon is missing and that the case is being
handled by the legal department of the scheme,” he said.
“That is close to two months ago and since then, no response has been received from any quarters,” he said.
He however called on well-meaning Nigerians to plead with the authorities to intensify efforts on the search for the corps member.
He also said that the Federal Government should consider the plight of his anguished family members, friends, relatives and associates.
“As friends and relatives, all we want is for frantic effort to be made to bring him back just like there would have been if he was their kid or family member,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES had in October reported the case of Lukmon Shorunke, prompting the NYSC authority to reach out to some of his family members. However, friends and associates of the missing corps member said that they have not heard from officials of the scheme since then.
Tijani Ibrahim, the NYSC legal adviser who contacted the family after the story was published in October, told PREMIUM TIMES that the NYSC coordinators in Zamfara and Oyo had briefed police on the case, but that police said they would need some time to investigate the case.
The spokesperson for the NYSC, Bose Aderibigbe, did not also respond to calls to her phone.
Shorunke Olayiwola, a former student of the University of Ilorin, was declared missing in September after he left his home in Abeokuta to board a night bus to Zamfara for his final clearance.
Sources disclosed that he was on his way to Zamfara in preparation for the NYSC’s batch B Passing Out Parade held on October 6.
The NYSC scheme has in recent time come under serious attacks following the deaths of corps members including Oladepo Ifedolapo Rachel, a graduate of Transport management from Ladoke Akintola
University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, who died in Kano state last week.