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Tears as Owolabi, Channels TV reporter is buried in Zaria

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Body of Precious Owolabi being lowered into the grave yesterday

The tears could not be stopped, from colleagues at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), relatives and well-wishers as the body of Precious Owolabi, a corps member attached to Channels Television, who died during the Shi’ites’ protest in Abuja on Monday, was lowered into the grave. The coffin was draped with the Nigerian flag and his complete NYSC uniform.

The 21-year-old was buried yesterday in Wusasa cemetery, Zaria in Kaduna State. DCP Usman Musa and Owolabi were among those that lost their lives in the protest.
Owolabi died after a stray bullet hit him during the Shi’ites’ clash with the police around the Federal Secretariat in Abuja.

While his body was committed to mother earth, the deceased’s mother expressed shock over his death, saying her son said he was going to be famous. Speaking with newsmen at their Zaria home yesterday, Mrs. Owolabi said her son was a well-behaved, cultured and easy-going young man.

According to her, “he loved his books. If you are looking for him, just go to his room, you will meet him either reading or writing. He use to tell us, he would become famous in life, but I never thought he meant to say, he would be famous in death.”

His father, Mr. Ayo Owolabi, also lamented that his son’s promising future has been cut short. Owolabi said though his son read Theatre and Performing Art, his encounter with Channels Television made him fell in love with journalism.

Owolabi, a Deputy Director with Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, said: “Ayoade (Precious) had a promising future but it was cut short by death. He graduated at the age 20 and I wanted him to have a straight flight to PhD after his NYSC. He was always engaged in the Channels TV job that he used to go to work on Sundays.

“In fact, his sister just bought a TV camera tripod for him. He asked me to plan buying a camera for him. He said it would cost about N300,000 and I told him, I will buy it. I wanted a straight flight to PhD for him but I never knew it would be a straight flight to death,” he said amid sobs.

The Director General of NYSC, Brig-General Shuaibu Ibrahim, who was represented by the Zonal Inspector in charge of Zaria, Mrs. Silifatu Bandele, described the late Owolabi as a hard-working patriot.

According Bandele: “I am grieved to read this funeral oration today on behalf of the Director-General and corps members nationwide in respect of the late Precious Owolabi, whose unfortunate death occurred while on duty covering the violent protest by members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) in Abuja on July 22.

“Precious was hardworking and patriotic to his duty. He answered the clarion call to serve his fatherland and made tremendous impact right from the orientation camp to his Place of Primary Assignment at the Channels Television Abuja. Precious served our country without blemish and if wishes were horses, we at the NYSC family would have wished that this young boy lying before us lives on.

“However, our wishes are not God’s will. I therefore call on the bereaved family to look on to God and bear this irreparable loss. We equally pray that God grants his soul eternal rest.”


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