Herdsmen killings: Parents, NYSC members panic, rush to seek redeployment
Corps members, posted to some states that have come under continuous attacks by Fulani herdsmen in the Middle Belt and parts of the North, have appealed to the authorities of the National Youths Service Corps to redeploy them to more secure states.
Some of the parents of serving and incoming members, who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH, also expressed great fears over the safety of their children in the troubled states, pleading with the Federal Government to save the young Nigerians from killers
Bukola Adeoye, a corps member currently serving in Benue State and posted to a primary school as a teacher in a village outside Makurdi, the capital city, told SUNDAY PUNCH that she stayed indoors most of the time.
The Osun State indigene explained that the headmaster of the school of her primary assignment advised her to stay at home following the dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed on the state by the government.
She said, “I want redeployment as soon as possible. I am scared and my mom is really not happy. I know that my life is in danger but I put my trust in God.”
Tears freely flowed down the cheeks of Mrs. Busola Adenuga, the mother of Kunle, a 21-year-old graduate of Covenant University, Ota in Ogun State, as she expressed her fears about her son’s safety in Benue State where he has been posted to for his one year mandatory service.
Adenuga appealed to the National Assembly to declare Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa states as security risks for now.
She said, “I want my son to be redeployed to any of the South-West states that are relatively peaceful at the moment.”
Her son, Kunle, also told SUNDAY PUNCH on Friday that fears enveloped him throughout his eight-hour journey from Lagos to Kogi State for the orientation camp.
“Our camp in Kogi State is a bit secure. What will happen to us after the camp?”
Frank Okoye, whose parents live in Abuja, is a corps member posted to Benue State but currently in the NYSC camp in Kogi State.
He said, “I feel highly traumatised at the moment. When I saw the call-up letter, I was really surprised that the NYSC could still post people to states that have security issues.
“I have not been to that place before. So, posting me to a place where they are killing people is like putting our lives at risk and I am not really happy. My plan is to process my redeployment to my state of residence which is the FCT after the orientation.”
Lawal Adewale, an Osun State-born corps member serving at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, the Benue State capital, lamented the high level insecurity in the state, noting however that security agents were putting the situation under control.
“I cannot seek redeployment now because I will complete my service in April. My only fear is the plight of my colleagues who are serving in the rural communities. In fact, the NYSC should not post any corps member to Benue at this moment.
“My parents are not comfortable with my resolve to stay till the end of my service year here but I have assured them that I will be fine since the situation has attracted the attention of the Federal Government,” Adewale stated.
Stephen Onuh, who was originally posted to Katsina State but redeployed to Benue, his home state on health ground, told one of our correspondents that majority of the corps members, who are Muslims and posted to the Guma Local Government Area, were seeking redeployment due to the crisis.
He said, “I have seen many corps members who are serving in the Guma and Logo Local Government Areas, where the killings took place, seeking redeployment. The NYSC authorities should urgently grant their requests because the areas are not safe yet.”
Another corps member, Akinwale Fasemore, said residents of his place of primary assignment in the Logo LGA had fled their homes, which informed his decision to relocate to Makurdi, the state capital.
The NYSC Public Relations Officer in Benue State, Mr. Filibu Yusuf, said no corps member had approached the agency to seek redeployment due to the current state of insecurity in some parts of the state.
We’re really scared, say Taraba corps members
Also, some corps members, serving in Taraba State, told SUNDAY PUNCH that they had been living in fears.
One of them, Mr. Akpan Bonaventure, a Batch A corps member, currently serving in the Yorro Local Government Area, said despite that his service year would end in June, he would be glad if the NYSC could redeploy him to Akwa Ibom State immediately.
Bonaventure said he had contacted the state office of the NYSC but was advised to stay since there were no security challenges in the local government area where he currently serves.
Miss Maliki Husseina, serving with the Taraba State Sports Council in Jalingo, told one of our correspondents that her mother wanted her to redeploy to safer states.
“My mother has been disturbing me. Even last week, she requested my details again and I sent them to her. She said she will work my relocation to Abuja or Kogi State; so I am waiting,” said Husseina.
Mr. Timilehin Ibrahim, a corps member from Ogun State, who is a graduate of International Law and Diplomacy from the Babcock University, Ilisan Remo, currently serving in Taraba State, however, told SUNDAY PUNCH that he was not willing to seek redeployment.
“God brought me to Taraba for a purpose. Herdsmen attacks are the least of my problems. I trust God and I am convinced that He will protect me anywhere I go,” said Ibrahim.
Other Batch B corps members, who spoke to SUNDAY PUNCH on conditions of anonymity, said they were deeply worried at the level of killings in the state by herdsmen, urging the NYSC authorities to allow those who want to redeploy due to security concern to do so.
“The truth of the matter is that relocation happens only during orientation, in camp, but because of these security challenges, we wish to appeal to the authorities to give us another window to seek redeployment,” one of them said.
Mixed feelings in Adamawa, Kaduna, Zamfara
Abayomi Oluleso, who graduated from one of the universities in Ondo State, told SUNDAY PUNCH that he was not happy with his posting to Zamfara State.
He vowed to return to the South-West after the orientation programme to process his redeployment from home.
“I did not choose Zamfara State when we were asked to determine our preferred state, but when I got the call-up letter, I had no option but to go for the orientation in the state. My parents are in support of my action,” he stated.
A businessman in Ondo State, Mr. Anthony Progressive, whose son was posted to Kaduna State, said the NYSC, by posting corps members from the South to the North at the moment, were playing with the lives of the youth.
He said, “My son has been posted to Kaduna State but I don’t like it because of the issue of insecurity there. The lives of corps members are not safe in the state, especially in Southern Kaduna.
“I can’t joke with the life of my boy. I will use everything I have to ensure that he is redeployed to the South-West. Northern Nigeria is no longer safe as it used to be during our own time.”
A corps member, working in the office of the Adamawa State Coordinator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said many of his colleagues posted to the state had applied for redeployment citing insecurity as their major concerns.
An official of the NYSC, who also spoke to SUNDAY PUNCH in confidence, confirmed that many corps members had received letters of redeployment since the herdsmen menace started in the state.
“Many of them come to this office seeking redeployment and we always oblige them as a policy of the NYSC. We have told them that they were at liberty to ask for redeployment. Many of them came for it and we granted their request,” said the source.
But Adeniyi Gbenga, a corps member from Lagos State serving in Savannah Sugar Company in Yola, said he was comfortable working in Adamawa State, admitting that his parents were extremely worried.
Recent disturbances in Adamawa State between the herdsmen and farmers, which affected the Savannah area of Numan, forced the NYSC to relocate all the corps members to Yola, the Adamawa State capital.
Adeniyi said he would not seek redeployment because he barely had three months to conclude his service year.
“I have just three months to go; so, it is perhaps coming very late for me to seek redeployment. A lot of my colleagues refused to stay back. Many of them applied for redeployment and they have gone,” he added.
Jummai Kwabe, an NYSC official in Yola, told one of our correspondents that the orientation programme for new corps members to the state had been shifted to Bauchi State.
We’ll redeploy corps members from crisis areas – NYSC
The acting Director, Public Relations Unit of the NYSC, Mrs. Adenike Adeyemi, said the agency was also worried about the crisis in the affected communities, adding that the scheme had redeployed some corps members to the state capitals.
She said the exercise was ongoing.
Adeyemi stated, “The NYSC will not compromise the security of corps members in all the affected states. We usually redeploy corps members to safe areas wherever there are crises.
“When the crisis started in Adamawa State, the NYSC, in December 2017, moved the corps members from the Numan Local Government Area to the state capital. They are no longer in the crisis areas.
“We have a synergy with all the security agencies to know the situation of things. At the moment, we have moved corps members from crisis areas in Adamawa, Nasarawa, Taraba and Benue states to the state capitals.