Nigeria Acting President Yemi Osinbajo said he was saddened by the tragic drowning of nine National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members in River Mayo-Selbe in Gashaka Local Government Area (LGA) of Taraba State last Saturday.
The serving corps members were among the 22 youth corps member had last Saturday left their places of primary assignment and embarked on a picnic at the site before the unfortunate incident.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, the Acting President extended condolences to the families and relations of the nine youth corps members on behalf of himself and the Federal Government.
According to the statement, Osinbajo lamented that the country had lost some of its talented and productive young people in their prime.
While praying God to console the families of the deceased, Osinbajo condoled with relatives, NYSC and their states of origin. “This terrible occurrence has brought an abrupt end to the lives of these young men and women while they were dutifully engaged in national service.
“The federal government appreciates their service to the country and it is my prayer that God will comfort their families and loved ones, and that we would not witness such a calamity again.
“I would like to express my condolences to the families of the late youth corps members, the NYSC management and the people of Taraba State, where the sorrowful incident occurred and Edo, Enugu, Delta and Imo states from where the identified victims hailed.”
Meanwhile, the NYSC has declared a three-day national mourning to sympathise with the families of nine corps members who drowned in River Mayo-Selbe, near the Gashaka falls, in the Gashaka Local Government Area of Taraba State.
Our correspondent learnt from the NYSC authorities that the mourning began on Monday and would end by Wednesday, during which the NYSC flags nationwide would fly at half-mast.
The NYSC Director of Press and Public Relations, Mrs Adenike Adeyemi, who confirmed the mourning period in a release on Monday, said the authorities were “shocked and saddened by the cruel twist of fate that befell our corps members.”
The Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, on Monday, also condoled with the NYSC and families of the nine corps members who died.
“The incident is unfortunate and regrettable.
“My sympathy goes to the families, the National Youth Service Corps and colleagues of the nine corps members who drowned during a picnic in the Gashaka LGA of the state at the weekend.
“I pray to God Almighty to grant the parents and relations of the deceased the fortitude to bear these painful losses.”
Ishaku advised corps members to always inform officials of the NYSC and those of their primary assignments in advance of their plans to travel and embark on social outings which could be prone to some hazards so that adequate security and safety covers would be officially made for them.