BY VICTORIA IKEANO,Lafia
The Nasarawa State Youth Empowerment Scheme (NAYES) has debunked allegations making the rounds that its staff were responsible for the recent deaths of two youths around the in Lafia. The deceased were, Patience Alkali and Destiny Alkali both aged 23 and 19 years respectively. It was alleged that the two blood relations had gone to buy fuel in jerry cans with their motorcycle when they were pursued by NAYES officials enforcing the ban on motorcycles and tricycles in the state.
The ban pronounced by Governor Abdullahi Sule in his Proclamation Number Four that outlined restrictions for curbing the new coronavirus disease, stipulates that exempted privately -owned motorcycles should not carry any other person when on the road.
According to the allegation, Destiny, the motorcycle rider in a bid to dodge the NAYES officials hit a stationary vehicle, both fell to the ground with the petrol they were carrying lighting up a fire ball and leaving them with serious burns. Destiny died at the Lafia Specialist hospital on Monday April 27 while Patience passed on in same hospital on Tuesday.
In a telephone interview with this writer, the General Manager of NAYES, Alhaji Abdullahi Labaran Maina vehemently denied that his men were culpable in the accident that resulted to the youths’ death. He narrated, “I was on my way to Keana when my second in command called me and I had to rush back. NAYES people were at the junction behind Diamond bank; you know there is a junction there; then there is another road that burst into the Neighbourhood market, they were there. Then a motorcycle was coming with fuel – one lady was carrying 25 litres of fuel on her lap, the driver of the motorcycle too was carrying another 25 litres of fuel, they were behind one Golf car; then a motorist just made a U-turn in front of that car, the driver of the Golf then marched automatic brake and then those coming behind it – the motorcycle – now hit the car and there was explosion, people then started running away shouting fire, fire fire. That was what happened, that was exactly what they told me; Human rights organization were there, that was the same information they got, DPO B Division police station was there, that was exactly what they told him. That is what I know about it”.
Asked what he thought was the reason people were alleging that it was NAYES that caused it all, Maina replied, “You know that since this issue of banning of motorcycle came into being it is NAYES that is doing the enforcement. A lot of people are not happy with us; people just want to spoil our name, saying it is NAYES that do this, it is NAYES that do that, just to dent our image. That is just it”.