In line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, police authorities have commenced an investigation into the death of three National Youth Service Corps members who died while serving in Kano, Zamfara and Bayelsa states.
A first class graduate of Transport Management, Ifedolapo Oladepo, had died during the NYSC orientation in Kano last week.
Another first class graduate of Petroleum Engineering from the University of Uyo, Ukeme Monday, reportedly died in Zamfara State orientation camp of a yet-to-be-ascertained ailment.
Another serving corps member, Okonta Samuel, was gunned down by suspected cultists in Rivers State while helping to facilitate the rerun election.
Our correspondent gathered on Monday that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had directed operatives of the Special Investigation Panel to carry out a comprehensive probe of the incidents.
The SIP headed by a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Ali Amodu, was set up by the IG to handle high profile investigations in the country.
It was gathered that the panel had already contacted a renowned pathologist, Dr. Wilson Akhiwu, to assist in the investigations.
A source disclosed to one of our correspondents that arrangements had been made for the pathologist to fly to Abuja from Ibadan, Oyo State, and meet with the police detectives handling the case.
It was gathered that the investigators would start with the case of Ifedolapo, who reportedly died of kidney infection.
It was learnt that the police had made arrangements for her corpse to be exhumed for a thorough medical examination.
The NYSC authorities had claimed that Ifedolapo died of renal sepsis occasioned by an infection, but the police, it was gathered, were not convinced by the report, hence the move to exhume the body for further examination by the pathologist.
A source said, “A renowned police pathologist, Dr. Wilson (Akhiwu) would be flying into Abuja from Ibadan by Tuesday morning (today) to assist with the investigations. Arrangements have been concluded for the exhumation of Ifedolapo’s body for a thorough medical examination.
“The probe would present an independent report on what actually transpired because the NYSC has been giving conflicting reports. The parents are saying one thing; the NYSC is saying another thing and the President had ordered that an investigation should be conducted. The report will be very comprehensive.”
Meanwhile, the father of Ifedolapo, Mr. Wale Oladepo, has insisted that his daughter died of negligence by NYSC officials at the orientation camp.
Addressing a news conference in Osogbo, on Monday, the father of the deceased, who accused the NYSC of trying to cover up its negligence instead of owning up, insisted that his daughter never had urinary tract infection.
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Specifically, he accused the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, of trying to subvert the truth by twisting facts.
Reacting to the impending exhumation of Ifedolapo’s corpse, her father said the he would not comment until the NYSC answered the questions raised by the family.
He said, “Nobody has contacted the family on the issue of autopsy. The issue of autopsy should be the last thing to do because there are questions to be answered by the NYSC.
“The family needs to know what happened to Ifedolapo between 8am when she reported to the NYSC and 4am the following morning when she died. I will not say anything on the issue of autopsy now until answers were provided to the questions we have put to NYSC officials.
“The family was not allowed to check her body. It was when we got to the graveyard that the casket was opened for the family to see. How do you expect the family to check her body properly at the graveyard when emotion was high?”
The Coordinator, Concerned Friends of Ifedolapo’s Family, Mr. Bamiji Oladele, said “the inflammatory and annoying statements” from the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung, had complicated the health situation of the mother of the deceased.
He said, “I want to call on Mr. President to caution the Minister of Youth and Sports and stop him from making inflammatory statements on the cause of death of Ifedolapo.
“His statements have compounded the health condition of the deceased’s mother. His speech had broken down the mother the more, we don’t want another emergency on our hands again.”
The Chairperson, Osun State chapter of International Federation of Women Lawyers, Olusola Ogunleye, said it was high time the NYSC started treating sick corps members promptly and professionally.
Meanwhile, tragedy was averted at the NYSC orientation camp in Ede, Osun State, on Monday, when a female corps member (name withheld) slumped when the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, was delivering a speech.
The corps member, who ostensibly collapsed as a result of exhaustion, was rushed to the NYSC clinic at the orientation camp.
A corps member that stood next to the female corps member who collapsed said his colleague showed signs of exhaustion.
One of the NYSC officials, who rushed to the clinic to check the corps members told our correspondent some minutes later that the lady had left the clinic after treatment.
The Ooni, in company with the Timi of Ede, Oba Munirudeen Lawal, gave a motivational talk to the corps members, recounting how he hawked rice and sugar.
He told the corps members not to be deterred by challenges but to remain focused on their goals.
“I started going to Benue to bring yam tubers which I turned to yam powder. I want to encourage you today, whatever you are selling or doing, do it with zeal.
“I met Aliko Dangote and Dr. Deji Adeleke and other successful people right inside the market where I was selling foodstuffs. I used my background to redefine the way I was selling the stuff,” he said.
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The Ooni had early on prayed for the repose of the souls of the corps members who died in Kano, Zamfara and Bayelsa states and asked God to give the families of the deceased the fortitude to bear the loss.
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