The Director-General, National Youth Service Corps, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, on Thursday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State commiserated with the families of five corps members who died on Abuja-Abaji highway on Wednesday.
The corps members hailed from Akwa Ibom and graduated from the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
They lost their lives in the road crash on their way to the NYSC orientation camp in Katsina State.
Ibrahim also directed that the NYSC flag be flown at half mast for three days in honour of the departed corps members.
The D-G said the news of the ghastly road accident was a devastating blow to the entire NYSC family, and prayed God to grant the families of the deceased the fortitude to bear the loss.
He said: “Yesterday was a black Wednesday in NYSC.
“We woke up with the sad news that five of our corps members lost their lives along Abuja-Abaji-Kwali Expressway.
“I had to rush down to the hospital to really confirm if it was true.
“And at last, it was true.
“We are completely devastated and diminished because as parents we know what it takes to train a child to this level.
“It is like an investment and it is an investment.
“But who are we to question God?
“There is nothing anyone can do than to pray God Almighty to give you the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.”
Ibrahim, who spoke with the parents and relatives of the deceased at the 2 Brigade Headquarters, Nigeria Army, Uyo, described the late corps members as patriotic Nigerians who were on their way to Kastina State to do their best for the country.
He however cautioned against corps members embarking on night travels to ensure safety.
Responding on behalf of the families, Rev. Isaiah Ekanem of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, uncle to one of the deceased, Victor Akpan, thanked the NYSC management for the prompt visit.
Ekanem appealed to the Federal Government and the NYSC to assist the families of the deceased corps members to cushion the trauma they were passing through.
He said: “With total submission to the will of God, may I say that what I am seeing here will go along way to console us.
“God will also give us the fortitude to bear the loss.
“I am praying that the Federal Government and the NYSC will device a better means to mobilise corps members to avoid future occurrence.
“If I am given the opportunity, I will suggest that the NYSC limits mobilisation of corps members within their geopolitical zones to avoid long distance travels.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the D-G earlier paid a condolence visit to Governor Udom Emmanuel and the University of Uyo.