National Youth Corps members in Zamfara have raised alarm over the harassment, humiliation and arrest of a youth corper who was attacked by a mob of thugs employed by a wealthy parent whose ward was disciplined at a school in the North Western state.
Read below an account by a friend to the corper, identified as “Michael” in the story which has gone viral on social media. Below that account is the official statement by the NYSC which contradicts some of the claims by the eyewitness.
The NYSC identifies the affected corps member as Esi Uwakwe and confirms that his rights were violated by men of the Nigeria Police Force, but makes light of the situation and suggests that the police has apologised to the corper and the apology has been accepted.
There is a photo of a badly beaten and mutilated man circulating on social media platforms and wrongly captioned as the Mr. Uwakwe. The NYSC has refuted the photo and said it does not depict the affected corps member.
WHO WILL HEAR AND NOT CRY?
The entire corps members serving in Kaura Namoda, Zamfara State, are bleeding out purple blood. Our hearts are thumping out strong rhythms of pain. Our dignity has been trampled and mangled with reckless impunity. God!
Today, a corps member, Michael, serving his fatherland through sweat and bile; rough roads, hunger, merciless weather; and the shame of N19,800 in the face of a smothering economy. Michael- serving in Nasara Standard Academy, perceived as the shining light in a tottering secondary education system in Kaura Namoda- was today brutalised, manhandled and reduced to nothingness by a brainless team comprising of the richest man in Kaura Namoda and his equally wanton boys. What was his crime?
Michael had punished his student who happens to be this man’s ward. A simple kneel down. Michael who had nurtured these block heads with patience and love. Michael, who had taught with empty stomach till letters on the chalkboard danced like rampant music notes before his eyes. For all of us like Michael who have stretched the capacities of our strengths and sensibilities to serve a stifling system. For all the ‘ under the sun and in the rain’, what have we gotten as reward?
This notorious man, clenching his cash-ridden fists, recruits the help of the Police and in that shameless trotting of Zombies, storms Nasara Academy to crucify Michael like a criminal. He was punched like a sack of millet and stripped of humanity. He was beaten, beaten, and again beaten like he stole karats of gold in a jungle market. O God! My fingers are itching, and it’s like they will drip blood. Michael was driven to the Police Station where the real torture awaited him.
They removed what was left of his pride as a Man serving his country. Then, they flogged and flogged him, and when their energy sapped out, the Evil of a man threw wads of naira notes about, and refueled their animalism. Michael was a heap of sorrow and a container of hot painful tears. As some of Michael’s colleagues arrived and tried to raise their voices against the escalating reign of heartlessness; the Police men, some apparently drunk, threatened with pointed rifles, slapping and pushing them….
Hear me if you are a corps member in Kaura Namoda! We have been abused to our bones. We are now just remnants of pride sliced into irredeemable pieces. Our hearts have been pierced by hot pellets of searing pain. Our heads are now buried in shame. The little essence of our ghostly existence has been thoroughly erased. We are now empty, just plain empty.
Who will hear this and not cry? How can we move about when our sinews are depleted? Who will walk the long and dusty paths to schools to teach? Who will serve the masters under a sun that burns through skin and fluid? Who will hear this and not cry?
Nothing has been done. The engineer of this massive evil is an untouchable. A stinkingly rich sacred goat. He has played ping pong with our dignity and thinks he will get away with it because he is rich. Because our society is rotten and deceased of sense. Because our policeman are a bunch of kitted area boys. Because ‘money’ has shredded the spines of our moral make-up.
Michael is lying in a police cell, writhing in raw pain—- a soul beaten beyond repair. He has been physically wounded but more serious is the mental injury. But he is not alone. We are all wounded like Michael and our soul is burning from strife. Who will hear this and not cry? We therefore call on:
The State Government;
The State Coordinator NYSC;
The Emir of Kaura Namoda;
The Commissioner of Police;
Every Khaki and Jungle boot in Zamfara state and Nigeria as a whole. Let us roar and be heard. Tell the next person to tell another. Let our tales of woe reach the peak where justice crouches. The brutalisation of Michael in a land where he is vulnerable and hapless will not go without notice. Justice must be done. Corps members must be protected. Our dignity must be restored. The pride of khaki and Jungle boots must be reinvented.
Today, Michael was battered for all of us. Shall we hear and look away…who will hear this AND NOT CRY?
NYSC Statement on the Arrest of The Youth Corper
The attention of the NYSC Management has been drawn to stories making the rounds about the beating of a Corps member, Esi Uwakwe, serving in Kaura Namoda, Zamfara State, by the police purportedly at the instance of an influential indigene of the area.
Management wishes to inform the public that findings of investigation launched by the Scheme show that the facts of the case were grossly exaggerated, especially in the social media.
Our findings showed that the Corps member, who is serving in a school, went beyond his responsibility of teaching and adoption of acceptable approaches to discipline by causing knee injuries to one of his students whom he instructed to crawl on his knees.
The angered father of the student took the matter to the police and in the course of handling the case, an overzealous officer slapped the Corps member.
Our position on the matter is that both the Corps member and the policeman were wrong in their approaches.
However, we are pleased to note the step taken by the Zamfara State Commissioner of Police, who invited all parties to his office for amicable resolution of the case.
The overzealous policeman has since apologized for slapping the Corps member and the matter has been put to rest.
Management wishes to stress that the picture of a man with cuts on his back, which is being circulated online, is not that of Corps member Uwakwe, but merely posted with intent to cause mischief and further mislead the public.
While we sympathize with both the injured student and the Corps member, whose inexperience might have resulted in his excesses in his approach to discipline, we wish to restate that the publicity the case generated would have been normal if not for the exaggeration.
Management remains committed to safety and dignity of Corps members, but wishes to advise those on teaching assignment to always exercise caution in handling disciplinary cases and to, especially, refer serious cases to their school supervisors to be on the safe side.