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Youth Corps Member Shot Dead During Rivers Rerun Poll

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A National Youth Service Corps  (NYSC) member on election duties was shot dead during  Saturday’s Rivers legislative election, it was learnt yesterday.

Okonta Samuel Dumebi , an orphan, who hailed from Illah in Delta State, was on duty at Ahoada West Local Government Area where he and two of his colleagues were attacked.

They were shot at by hoodlums who were trying to frustrate the conduct of a free and fair election.

The two others were lucky to escape into hiding, but Okonta was shot dead.

Another Youth Corps member, Anana Aniekan Udoetor, who was declared missing after the shooting, has returned hale and hearty.

The NYSC yesterday confirmed Okonta’s death, describing his killing as “primitive, barbaric and ungodly”.

A statement by the NYSC management said: “The management of the National Youth Service Corps regrets to announce the loss of a Corps member Okonta Dumebi Samuel (RV/15B/5539) during the rerun elections held in Rivers State at the weekend.

“Corps member Okonta Samuel, who until his demise served at GCSS Ukpeliede, was shot dead by some unknown gunmen in Ahoada West Local Government Area.

“The murder of this patriotic young man, who was an orphan, is primitive, barbaric and ungodly and should be strongly condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians.

“The NYSC shall work with relevant agencies to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous act are fished out and made to face the full wrath of the law.

“We consider Okonta Samuel’s death as a great loss, not only to his immediate family, but also to all of us in the NYSC family and the entire nation.

“May the Almighty God grant him eternal rest, and give his immediate family and the rest of us the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

“Meanwhile, two other Corps members that were with the deceased at the time of the incident escaped from the scene through the help of security agents.

“We also wish to inform that another Corps member, Anana Aniekan Udoetor (RV/15B/5537), who was earlier reported missing, has been found and is hale and hearty.”

The late Okonta attended Illah Grammar School and Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Edo State.

Illah Community Youths expressed shock over Dumebi’s death, describing as it “great loss”. Commenting on Dumebi’s social page yesterday, Mary Obosi Egbuchiem, who lives in Abuja, wrote: “What a world we are. The last time I saw you (the late Dumebi) was during my son’s dedication. Oh God, come and rescue your children from the hands of death. Tears. RIP Dumebi.”

Uzor Amos wrote: “My best friend is no more. What sad news. In fact, I can’t believe this. Well, may your soul rest in peace my brother and friend.”

Ojubi Ezenwa, another Illah youth, wrote: “What a bitter story. Unforgettable pains have been caused to us, we the youth of Illah. I can’t still believe you are no more. Rest in peace is all we have to say, brother. But, it is so sad that we did not see again, until I heard that you are dead.”

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Obiageli Nwokocha, who broke the news to Illah youth, wrote: “Of what purpose was the rerun election in Rivers State to the poor and innocent masses? Dead bodies found all over the state. Why are politicians killing those who are not part of them? I am writing this with a heavy heart. It is only in Nigeria that youth service is risky. If Boko Haram did not kill Corps members, politicians will…

“Losing old people is better than losing a young vibrant youth that should make great impact to our future. Dumebi Okonta Samuel! I am speechless, shocked and in pain. You left so early without a notice. You only went to serve your fatherland, but it is obvious the land does not serve you well. I have always known you to have good relationship with God. I pray that the Lord receive and welcome your soul to heaven. To my Illah youth and friends, we need to embrace God. RIP my friend.”

No fewer than seven people were also believed to have been killed in various parts of the state in the bloody election. But the police said four people died and that 22 people were arrested.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will investigate the allegation that some fake result sheets were being distributed during the election.

The alleged distribution of fake result sheets resulted in violence in some parts of the state, leading to the cancellation of the election in some local government areas on election day.

The commission’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said a meeting had been slated for tomorrow to review the election, which could not be concluded as a result of the violence.

Osaze-Uzzi insisted that there was no way fake election materials could have been distributed by INEC’s election officers.

“Was there really distribution of fake result sheets? How did the people know that they are fake?

“The allegation will be investigated, anyway.

“We are having a meeting on Wednesday with the Rivers Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), monitors and supervisors who went to the state for the election.

“This issue will be raised there; thereafter, we will issue a public statement on our findings.

“We will also investigate any allegation that has been raised and backed with fact,” Osaze-Uzzi said.

On when the commission would release the remaining results of the election, he said the decision on it would be taken at the Wednesday meeting.

“We are not going back to the state until the atmosphere is conducive to have a violent-free election.

“But I don’t want to pre-empt anything ahead of the Wednesday meeting.”

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