By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
The Coordinator of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Bauchi State, Mr. Afolayan James has debunked media reports that the scheme covered up the death of a 28-year old corps member, Magdalene Yohanna, who died as a result of camp meditation exercise.
Officially confirming the death of the corps member, the coordinator said that the deceased lied in the medical report she submitted to the scheme during her registration at the Wailo orientation camp in Ganjuwa Local Government Area of Bauchi State.
Late Magdalene who reportedly said to be asthmatic fell down during a meditation exercise at the Wailo camp, was rushed to camp clinic, and subsequently with worse condition to the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi.
The coordinator in a statement in Bauchi while reacting to media reports that the scheme covered the death, said the management was constrained to respond to the story anchored by one of the national dailies that it has concealed the death of the corps member, Magdalene Yohanna.
He explained that the welfare and well-being of the corps members are given top priority and consideration by the management of the scheme.
“This informed the NYSC management’s decision that the prospective corps members must come to the orientation camp with a duly signed medical report by a registered medical practitioner from a recognized Government healthcare, stating the true condition of every prospective corps member”.
James further stated, “Prospective corps members who have serious health challenges are also relocated instantly to any place where they can receive adequate Medicare since their condition will not allow them to stay in camp”.
He explained, “Corps member Magdalene Yohanna reported to camp full of enthusiasm and zeal to serve the fatherland in Bauchi state. Therefore, the corps member did not indicate any health challenge in the registration documents she completed and neither did she complained of asthma on arrival at camp”.
Mr. James added, “Furthermore, the medical certificate of fitness presented by the corps member gave her a clean bill of health”.
According to him, the morning meditation in any NYSC orientation camp does not involve any strenuous activity as it only involve rendition of National Anthem, NYSC Anthem, Recitation of the National pledge, as well as listening to inspirational write-ups on any topic that could inculcate patriotism and selfless service in the corps members.
“It was while this was on that it was noticed she was uncomfortable and medical officials on standby moved her with the NYSC Ambulance to the clinic where she was attended to by corps doctors and the Resident doctor from the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH) Bauchi”.
“The Resident doctor who is more experienced on examining her commenced treatment for Ulcer based on the complaint of pain in the chest and lower abdomen. He also effected her immediate transfer to the Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH) having assessed that her case should be referred”.
“Also the brother that came to Bauchi on being informed of her unfortunate incident equally said that she had a history of health challenge of Ulcer and that she was discharged from the hospital in the last days of December, 2018, after undergoing treatment”, he stated.
The coordinator noted that the NYSC and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital encouraged the family to allow an autopsy to be carried out, but this was declined in writing with appreciation for the efforts made to save her life.
He added that after consultations with the family, she was given a burial in line with NYSC Guidelines on such matters.
“The Bauchi State Government wrote a letter of condolence to the family which was delivered by its officials who attended the burial. The NYSC Secretariats in Bauchi and Kaduna were fully represented at the burial”.
On why there was no official statement by the NYSC officials on the death of the corps member during the closure of the orientation exercise, he said that making a statement on it would be opening deep wounds.
“Referring to the unfortunate incident at a public event almost two weeks after its occurrence will be opening the deep wounds and refreshing the pains already inflicted on the scheme and the deceased family by the demise of the corps member. The issue of concealment of death therefore does not arise at all”, he clarified.
The Bauchi NYSC coordinator therefore appealed to journalists to always cross check their facts before rushing to publish in order to avoid creating apprehension and panic among citizens.