A 28-year-old Mark Oluwafemi, member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) posted to Nembe-Bassambiri in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State was on Friday confirmed dead after he drowned during a beach party organized to celebrate his passing out.
The deceased was swimming with colleagues and indigenes of his place of service when the unfortunate incident took place.
It was gathered that, though the incident occurred a fortnight ago at a place known as Miami Beach in Nembe-Basanbiri area, the atmosphere during the passing out parade was mournful with few corps members seen gathering in groups discussing the incident.
Spokesperson of the Bayelsa Police Command, Asinim Butswat, who confirmed the incident stated that it occurred on the 22nd of February, exactly 11 days to the passing out parade.
But the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, who personally attended the Passing Out Parade of the 2019 Batch A set of corps members at the Peace Park in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, commiserate with the NYSC and family of the corps member who drowned in the Nembe River, stressed the need for stakeholders to intensify their efforts at ensuring the safety of corps members in the state.
Governor Diri also called on corps members posted to Bayelsa to be good ambassadors of the state, describing Bayelsans as very hospitable, peaceful and friendly.
He noted that as corps members that have lived and interacted with the people, they were better placed to tell the Bayelsa story to the rest of the world. The governor also urged corps members that desire to make Bayelsa a home to do so while calling on those returning to their states to take it upon themselves to correct any false narrative about the state.
He had earlier assured the NYSC of his administration’s continued support and partnership during the courtesy visit of the scheme’s South South Area Commander, Mr Omatade Ayodele-Benjamin to Government House, Yenagoa.
The governor promised to complete the NYSC permanent orientation camp at Kaiama in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area.He noted that the camp project, which was started by his predecessor, has reached an advanced stage of completion.
On the land donated by the state government for the building of NYSC secretariat, the governor promised to formalise the process by issuing a Certificate of Occupancy.
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The governor directed the leadership of the scheme to always liaise with the Secretary to the State Government, Rt Hon Konbowei Benson, to enable government meet some of its logistical demands such as utility van, coaster bus and ambulance.
The South South Area Coordinator of the Corps, Mr Omatade Benjamin, in his remarks, expressed the NYSC’s readiness to contribute towards developing the state by deploying its members to critical areas of need.
He congratulated the governor on his victories at the Supreme Court and thanked him for granting the delegation audience despite the short notice.
Mr Omatade, who was accompanied by the state NYSC Coordinator, Mrs Ojugo Elizabeth, said over 5000 corps members were currently serving in the state, out of which about 1,400 rounded off their mandatory one year national service.