By Wole Ayodele in Jalingo
Nine corps members at the weekend drowned in a river in Gashaka Local Government Area of Taraba State while on a picnic.
The incident occurred barely 24 hours after the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Maj. Gen. Zachare Kazaure, visited the NYSC orientation camp in the state, where he addressed the 2018 Batch B corps members.
It was gathered that the corps members had gone to the river side for a picnic when suddenly the river overflowed due to heavy rainfall in nearby communities and submerged them.
Seven out of the nine bodies had been recovered, while efforts are being made to recover the remaining two bodies as at the time of filing the report.
Confirming the incident, the state Police Public Relations Officer, David Modal, stated: “Information available to our disposal reveals that 22 youth corps members serving in the state were on a picnic party in River Mayo-Selbe in Gashaka Local Government Area on Saturday when the incident happened.
“We were made to understand that while they were swimming, there was a sudden increase in the volume of water which carried nine of them away. Seven corpses have been recovered so far while the search for the two remaining corpses is still in progress,” he said.
The Taraba State Coordinator of NYSC, Ms. Florence Yaakugh, who resumed work in the state some couple of months back, described the incident as shocking and one of the darkest days of her career.
She, however, disclosed that everything was being done to recover the remaining five bodies still trapped in the river.
Meanwhile, the Lamido of Gashaka, Alhaji Zubeiru Gabdo, has expressed shock over the incident, describing it as a monumental loss to the country.
He prayed God to grant their families the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss as well as for the repose of their souls.