Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar
The National Youth Service Corps, NYSC in Cross River state has called on the state and federal governments to come to their aid and restore the scheme’s secretariat in the state which was vandalized by suspected hoodlums who raided Calabar recently.
State Coordinator of the scheme, Alhaji Mohammed Nakamba made the call when officials of the state government visited to inspect the level of damage unleashed at the secretariat.
Lamenting the incident, the coordinator said the unfortunate act had left both the staff and corps members in the state devastated and had also paralyzed the scheme’s activities in the state.
He said the only thing left for them was an empty building, but expressed excitement that they did not raze the property as was the case in most other places.
“I thank God for one or two things. My staff and all corps members were all alive, no life is lost. Secondly, I thank God that they never set this place ablaze, that’s just my happiness. But what has happened, nobody can be happy sincerely speaking, having seen all these destruction.
“As you’ve been hearing, very soon we will resume orientation camp and I have made an inventory of everything in the secretariat and I will forward my report to him and His Excellency.
“We have lost so many things and it will affect us seriously. So we look forward to what the government can do to assist us. We are even lucky that they did not vandalize our orientation camp as they did in most states,” Nakamba said.
Also speaking, the Assistant Director in charge of Press and Public Relations Unit of the NYSC, Mr. Peter Enuma said the hoodlums stripped the secretariat of everything they had.
He said: “This is quite unacceptable. By our own standard, NYSC has been an organization that has been promoting national unity and integration. The destruction is just enormous. There is nothing inside this building again. Everything, including our computers and vehicles have been done away with.
“We are looking forward to an intervention from the state government. Because we don’t have anywhere to stay to work and we are anticipating the arrival of prospective corps members anytime from now, tentatively 10th of November. It is so pathetic.
“At the moment, we are defeated psychologically. We urgently need basic furniture and computers to enable us to start just at the secretariat level thereafter they can look for a possible way to replace the major items in the office and the vehicles. We are only appealing that the government should do it in a hurry so that we don’t miss the upcoming camp.”
After the inspection, the state commissioner for youths who doubles as the NYSC governing board chairman in the state bemoaned the attack at the secretariat. He promised that the state, in collaboration with the federal government, will do something about the situation. “What we have witnessed here is like a dream to some of us. Cross River state that we know for several decades now is known for peace.
“To have this kind of act being done here and this extent of damage done to the items that belong to the youths themselves is highly condemnable. For the National Youth Service Corps Secretariat to witness this extent of damage, one may begin to ask, what are the motives behind these actions? That the youths are now against themselves or what? I don’t know how to express the level of damage done here. All the items in all the offices were carted away and those they cannot carry, they destroyed.
“This shows that the vulcanizers were here to remove tyres. The panel beaters were here to remove some parts of the vehicles and the buildings as they can. Electricians were here too and so on and so forth. What were they destroying those items for? Did the corpers keep money here? That is why we lost words to express this and I don’t think God will forgive the perpetrators. They will surely be exposed by God’s grace”.
He instructed the state coordinator to forward the inventory of all that had been destroyed to him to enable him brief the governor for immediate action. He noted that it may not only be the state issue that the federal government may need to come in because of the extent of the damage done.
On his part, Chairman of the state National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, Daniel Obo maintained that youths of the state were not responsible for the damage.
He said it was not possible for the youths to come and destroy their own property which they ought to protect. He stressed that the state was invaded even though he cannot totally deny that there were no insiders. He promised that the youths will do their part in assisting the government to apprehend the culprits.