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Nigeria mourns 23-yr-old youth achiever who drowned at US waterfall

Nigeria mourns 23-yr-old youth achiever who drowned at US waterfall


The tragic death of Nigerian student and youth achiever, John Paul Usman who drowned over the weekend at Virginia’s Cascade Falls in the United States has left his country in shock.

Many colleagues and friends as well as sympathisers of the final year student of the University of Ilorin and president of the UNESCO Clubs in Nigeria couldn’t hold back their sadness about his tragic death.

Tributes and messages of condolence have flooded his Facebook page as well as on Twitter.

John Paul Usman was selected for the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, a flagship programme of President Obama, among a thousand young Africans who have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries.

He was hosted with 25 other fellows from 21 countries early this month in the United States by the Virginia Polytechnic University for a six-week intensive civic leadership training course at the university’s Language and Culture Institute.

On Saturday, John Paul Usman went on a hike among 18 fellows accompanied by two university staff members towards the 66-foot waterfall near the university.

According to local media reports, he fell into the water and after he was retrieved, bystanders performed CPR on him for about 30 minutes before his death.

“Our thoughts are with John Paul’s family in this difficult time. We are devastated by this tragic event,” Don Back, the director of the Institute where Usman was studying said in a statement released by the University.

The United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria as well as the fellowship programme released statements mourning his death and extending condolences to his family.

“John Paul is remembered fondly by the other Mandela Washington Fellows from his native Nigeria and at Virginia Tech, and he leaves behind a legacy of servant leadership and a strong commitment to community service,” the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders said on their Facebook page.

The Nigerian government has not issued any statement yet on the young leader’s death.

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