THE body of Ifedolapo Oladepo, member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), who died during orientation in Kano State, may be exhumed for the conduct of an autopsy.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, revealed to State House correspondents in a chat on Thursday, after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the NYSC had not done any autopsy on her, and that the procedure was necessary to properly ascertain the cause of her death.
Government has already ordered an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of the girl, whom the NYSC authorities had said died of complications arising from a kidney infection.
But answering questions on the matter, Dalung said NYSC merely presented its own side of the case which would now require an independent investigation for balancing, given the controversy it had generated.
He said the report of the independent inquiry would enable the government to take a position.
The minister stated: “The report given by the NYSC is normal and natural, that after investigation, they must present their own report on what has happened.
“But in view of the fact that there are many versions on what led to the death of the NYSC member, it would be fair to look at another version of what happened to be sure of what actually transpired.
“It doesn’t have to do with not trusting the process but gauge the report alongside other opinions.
“Then, we will now be able to tell Nigerians that this is the circumstances on how she died.
“Don’t forget that the report of the NYSC has no autopsy and an independent investigation will require an autopsy.
“And now the autopsy alongside the report will balance and it will fortify the conclusion the government will make.”
In ordering for an independent probe, President Bubari had, on Wednesday, commiserated with the families of the three NYSC members who lost their lives during the 2016 Batch ‘B’ Orientation programme in three states.
Apart from Ifedolapo, other deceased Corps members are Chinyerum Nwenenda Elechi and Monday Asuquo Ukeme, who died in Bayelsa and Zamfara states, respectively.
According to a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the president was particularly keen for the circumstances leading to the death of Ifedolapo to be unraveled and has, therefore, ordered an independent investigation into her case.
The president, who described the demise of these young Nigerians as “shocking, sad and unfortunate,” regretted that they died in the course of answering the national call to serve.
He urged the families, friends and associates of the deceased to be consoled by the knowledge that their loved ones paid the supreme price while on national service and not for ignoble reasons.
President Buhari also extended condolences to the Director-General and management of the NYSC over the transition of the youth corps members.
While enjoining the management of NYSC to do all within its powers to protect the lives of those under its charge, the president called on parents and guardians of current and potential NYSC participants not to panic over the recent tragic deaths.
He prayed that God would grant the souls of the departed youths eternal rest.
Meanwhile, the Senate, on Thursday, resolved to probe the death of the three corps members at the orientation camps of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
The chamber, which debated a motion moved by the Senate Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye, asked the Committee on Sports to investigate the sudden deaths.
The senators asked the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, overhaul the scheme.
According to the upper chamber, the orientation camps across the country were unfit for human habitation.
The Senate also called on the Federal Government to improve on the medical facilities in all the NYSC orientation camps across Nigeria, as well as deploy experienced medical personnel to the centres.
Following the adoption of the motion, the Senate asked its Committee on Sports and Youth Development to conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of the three corps members, in order to guide against future occurrences.
Senator Adeyeye had told the Senate that three corps members, including Ifedolapo Oladepo, Elechi Chiyerom and Ukeme Asuquo died at the Kano, Bayelsa and Zamfara states NYSC orientation camps in unclear circumstances.
Senator Adeyeye’s motion, entitled: “Need to conduct investigation into the death of Ifedolapo Oladepo, a National Youth Service Corps member at NYSC camp, Kano State,” indicated that the frequent deaths of corps members was deplorable.
Also contributing, Senator Binta Garba supported the call, saying “it is time to overhaul the NYSC as an agency of government. We need to think if NYSC is still needed in this country. If someone says he or she is sick, why won’t they attend to the person? From what we have seen, we need to overhaul the NYSC. We need to look into the activities of NYSC.”
Senate President Bukola Saraki, in his contribution, said the country needed to address the issue of health services in the orientation camps.
“This is an issue we should capture in the 2017 budget,” he added