The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) on Tuesday in Lagos held a commendation service for three slain staff members, with a vow to keep alive their memories.
The staff members killed during the course of the recently-concluded 2013 May/June West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), in Yola, were Peter Gwalasha (45), Boniface Emmanuel (45) and Daniel Alexander, whose age was not stated.
The Head of the WAEC National Office, Charles Eguridu, made the vow, saying that their labour would never be in vain.
The deceased worked at the WAEC Office in Yola, Adamawa, before they were murdered on April 19 by unknown gunmen near Damboa, Borno State.
The officers were said to be conveying to Maiduguri scripts of the May/June 2013 WASSCE belonging to candidates in Adamawa and Taraba when they were attacked by suspected Boko Haram members.
Mr. Eguridu expressed regret that the deceased were murdered while serving their country. He said their demise is an immense loss to the families of the deceased, in particular and the country, in general.
“I give God the glory that in spite of the challenges, threats, injuries and deaths, the May/June WASSCE in Nigeria has come to an end. The trauma that attended the conduct of this examination will forever remain indelible in our minds.
“The conduct of the examination was fraught with risks, pains and loss of lives, but it exposed the courage, dedication, determination and commitment of WAEC staff to go to any length to ensure that the Council discharges its mandate.
“I have witnessed for myself the dedication and passion of men and women who are willing to lay down their lives in the service of their nation.
“They paid the supreme sacrifice in the service of our country, their Labour will never be in vain and words cannot bring them back.“But the assurance that we have is that they are resting in the satisfaction that they have done their bit in service to God and country,” Mr. Eguridu said.
He announced that all the three wives of the deceased officers would be given automatic employment as members of staff of WAEC, with effect from July 1. He said this was one of the measures the Council had put in place to support the families the deceased left behind.
“May I use this opportunity to plead with you all to be vigilant and security conscious wherever you are, during the marking exercise.
“As the Almighty God watches over us, ensure that you order your steps and do not place your lives and the joy of your families in jeopardy,” he pleaded.
In his exhortation, the guest Pastor, Johnson Kalejaiye, the Regional Evangelist of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, prayed that God should continue to provide for the bereaved families and WAEC.
Mr. Kalejaiye noted that it was unfortunate that innocent and God-fearing people, who should have been celebrated for adding value to life, were brutally killed.
According to him, there is nothing a man of God can do now except to beseech God to uphold the families of the deceased and support them throughout their moment of grief.
Responding, Fibi Gwalasha commended the management and staff of the council for their support and urged them to keep the Council’s flag flying.
Mrs. Gwalasha said that the bullet-ridden remains of her husband and his colleagues were found 18 hours after their demise, noting that it was too tragic a scene to behold.“Perhaps, the most painful is that my husband left behind a five-day old baby, Alexander, who is still in hospital following an after-birth ailment.
“The spirit of these courageous gentlemen will only rest in peace if the Council is able to keep their memories alive,” she added.