LAGOS SCHOOL BUILDING COLLAPSE: CDHR FUMES, MOURNS, CALLS FOR CORONER INQUEST
LAGOS SCHOOL BUILDING COLLAPSE: CDHR FUMES, MOURNS, CALLS FOR CORONER INQUEST

Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has regretted the apparently avoidable disaster of the collapse of a school building at Ita-Faji, Lagos Island, Lagos on Wednesday 13th March, 2019, killing and injuring numerous school children. Criminal negligence by property developers with the connivance of errant personnel of regulatory agencies has led to numerous avoidable disasters of collapse buildings across Nigeria. Several citizens have been deprived of their rights to life, guaranteed under section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). The present Ita-Faji avoidable disaster that has killed many children and left several others seriously injured yesterday must be thoroughly and dispassionately investigated while culprits and errant regulators must be duly prosecuted.

 

Rising from a Strategic Meeting on Thursday, 14th March, 2019, at the Rights House, Lagos, CDHR considered and decried the level to which developers of buildings and public officers in regulatory agencies have abdicated their responsibility and public duty of care to citizens.

 

In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Henry Peter Ekine and made available to the Press, CDHR has demanded that the Lagos State Government must activate the extant Coroner Law of Lagos State and conduct a Coroner Inquest on the collapse of the school building that has led to the death of innocent children. The statement by CDHR described the incident as unfortunate and avoidable.

 

CDHR therefore warned that this incident must not be overlooked by the Government of Lagos State, as well as other similar incidents of avoidable disasters that constitute violation of the rights of citizens. Thus, CDHR implored the Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and the Government of Lagos State to immediately direct the conduct of a Coroner Inquest and ensure thorough prosecution of all culprits.

 

May the souls of the departed rest in peace! May the injured gain quick and full recovery!

 

HENRY PETER EKINE, ESQ.

National Publicity Secretary, CDHR

Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has condemned the wanton killings of citizens in various parts of the country.
Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has condemned the wanton killings of citizens in various parts of the country.

Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has condemned the wanton killings of citizens in various parts of the country, including Rivers (Abonnema, Andoni, Eleme, Krakrama, etc); Lagos (Okota),  Oyo (Ibadan); Bayelsa and Kogi States, amongst others, in the course of the Presidential and National Assembly Elections held yesterday, Saturday 23rd February, 2019. CDHR also berated politicians and errant security agents on the widespread electoral violence that disrupted the smooth conduct of the general elections yesterday. The foremost Human Rights group again lamented the disturbing show of compromise, collusion and connivance by some officials of INEC and security agencies that has put the integrity of the election process to question.

 

In a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Comrade (Barr) Henry Peter Ekine, issued to the press, CDHR maintained that citizens are entitled hitch free participation in elections, which must be peaceful, fair and credible. Citizens have the right to vote and be voted for; no citizen should be unfairly disenfranchised, especially by violent conduct by others or connivance by errant security agents.

 

CDHR commended Nigerians, electorates, on their commitment to democracy and the electoral process by turning out enmass and participating in the elections, despite the downturns, especially the earlier unfortunate and sudden postponement of the elections from Saturday 16th February to Saturday 23rd February, 2019. The resilience of Nigerians has again been demonstrated by such unprecedented mass turnout of electorates for the elections.

 

Now the Presidential and National Assembly Elections are over, as we prepare for the Governorship and State Assembly Elections on Saturday 9th March, 2019, all stakeholders, INEC, Security Agencies, Political Parties, Politicians and electorates must avoid violent behaviors or conduct, must desist from snatching of electoral materials, including ballot boxes. Voters must be civil. Electorates must come out even in greater numbers to exercise their rights. Vote your choice and determine your common future.

 

Your right is your right is your right!

My right is my right is my right.

 

The Committee for the Defence of the Human Right (CDHR), Akwa Ibom State Chapter, has urged security agencies to be non-partisan if the generally elections are to be a success.
The Committee for the Defence of the Human Right (CDHR), Akwa Ibom State Chapter, has urged security agencies to be non-partisan if the generally elections are to be a success.

The Committee for the Defence of the Human Right (CDHR), Akwa Ibom State Chapter, has urged security agencies to be non-partisan if the generally elections are to be a success.

It said any person or group intending to disrupt the peace during the elections and thereafter should be dealt with according to law irrespective of party affiliations.

In a statement by its state chairman Comrade Pius Philip Ntuen, the group condemned the burning of buses conveying electoral materials and the alleged killing of innocent persons in Obot Akara Local Government Area.

“We urge all political parties, their supporters and agents to maintain peace, caution their agents and advise their supporters to eschew violence and ensure peaceful elections in Akwa Ibom State.

“We also call on security agencies to maintain absolute neutrality, total impartiality and complete objectivity expected of them under the law to reinforce the confidence reposed in them by the teeming electorate for peaceful and credible elections in Akwa Ibom State,” CDHR said.

It urged the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Mr Mike Igini to maintain his impartiality and neutrality.

 

COMMITTEE FOR THE DEFENCE OF HUMAN RIGHTS (CDHR) DECRIES THE POSTPONEMENT OF THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS ON ACCOUNT OF POOR LOGISTIC ARRANGEMENTS BY INEC; CALLS FOR THOROUGH PROBE
COMMITTEE FOR THE DEFENCE OF HUMAN RIGHTS (CDHR) DECRIES THE POSTPONEMENT OF THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS ON ACCOUNT OF POOR LOGISTIC ARRANGEMENTS BY INEC; CALLS FOR THOROUGH PROBE

The CDHR notes with utter disappointment the postponement of the 2019 general elections on account of general poor logistics. This development just hours before the elections raises so many questions as to the capacity of INEC to conveniently discharge on their mandate. The Presidential and National Assembly elections were postponed to February 23, 2019 while the Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections were postponed to March 9, 2019.

This postponement has cast serious shadow on the credibility and integrity of the entire election process. As a contest, this unfortunate development has unwittingly created fertile grounds for competing political parties to discredit the process. International and local observers have mobilized at high costs and resources and are now demobilized. The entire economy and education sector in particular suffered the worst hit having been shut down for the period under review.

By Section 15(a) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), INEC is vested with global powers and vires to organize, undertake and supervise all elections. Under Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2011 the same INEC drawing from the broad powers to organize and conduct elections can postpone an election earlier than scheduled but for the restricted reasons of insecurity, natural disaster or emergency. It is expected that concerns of logistics may not be profound enough to ground suspension of general elections over which huge budgetary allocations have been approved and received.

 

Recall that both in 2011 and 2015 when there were such postponements the context are different from what we have just witnessed in the instant case where INEC consistently reassured the nation that the elections will hold with no possibility of postponement. On this score alone, INEC have not been truthful with the people since all the variables founding the bases of earlier assurances could not have changed in less than four hours to the election. The President, though a contestant, had in a national broadcast addressed the public on the scheduled election for today 16 February 2019. INEC itself has over a year ago released a comprehensive timetable of this election.

 

In 2015 it was the executive through the National Security Advisor to then President Goodluck Jonathan and after due consultations with National Council of States and all stakeholders announced the postponement. What is more? We appreciate that at all times material to the postponement, the election materials including sensitive materials have been dispatched and a lot more already at their relevant locations. What happens to those materials? To what extent can the integrity of those materials already dispatched be guaranteed?

 

In blaming INEC whose responsibility it is to generally organize the election, it should be recalled that it got caught in the interplay of power when the National Assembly foot-dragged on the consideration and approval of INEC budgetary allocation leaving them with serious time constraints in sourcing and procuring election materials. No doubt INEC trudged on as though all was well and even issued timetable and guidelines based on those assurances.

 

Moving forward CDHR demands as follows:

 

1. An unequivocal apology to the Nigerian people and representatives of international communities that are here in the country.
2. Clear explanation from INEC as to the circumstance and exact reason why the election was postponed.
3. A serious and thorough inquiry by an independent panel to ascertain what happened.
4. Appropriate sanction to relevant persons who failed in their responsibility and consequently took this decision in order to serve as a deterrent.
5. Consideration for decentralization and unbundling of INEC along the multifaceted responsibilities of that commission have now become imperative.

 

Malachy Ugwummadu Esq.,
President, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR)

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