Posted by News Express | 14 March 2019 | 1,268 times
Top civil rights group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has described as the height of criminal dereliction of duty by all the officials of the Lagos State Urban Planning Department, the collapse, on Wednesday, of a public school building in the Lagos Island in which scores of children were reportedly killed.
HURIWA said the negligence that led to the incident should attract immediate prosecution for murder of all those officials of the State Urban Planning Department, noting that the Lagos State Government has failed in its statutory and primary duty of taking care of the Nigerian children under its watch.
The rights group said those to be prosecuted must also include the Commissioner for Housing or Urban Planning who must be arrested with immediate effect even as a comprehensive audit of all public and private educational facilities in Lagos State must be immediately conducted by independent panel of experts.
It also has for the dismissal and prosecution of the Education Commissioner for failing to discharge the constitutional functions imposed on the office holder as the direct coordinating body that ought to provide oversight functions on all school facilities to ensure standards, safety and security of the pupils and students. HURIWA also called for the forensic audits of all public building assets including malls; stadia and places of worship to safeguard the lives of millions of Nigerians in Lagos. The auditing of these houses should be carries out in all major cities across the country.
HURIWA wondered why Lagos has persistently become a hub for substandard buildings going by the numerous cases of building collapse just as it condemned the snail speed dispensation of justice in the with specific reference to cases of collapse buildings even as it blamed judicial corruption for this ugly trend.
HURIWA called on the National Assembly to declare a state of Housing and School Facilities’ Emergency in Lagos state so that there could be a nationally funded audit of all public and private schools in the State, and to commence the immediate upgrade of all its public primary schools even as private school owners should be given a matching order to carry out verifiable upgrade or forfeit their operational licences within two weeks.
In a media statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA disclosed that it will dispatch a petition to the United Nations Education Commission (UNESCO) and the Secretary General of the United Nations to call the attention of the world body to the dangers that millions of school children go through by being exposed to poor, substandard and comprehensively unsafe schooling environment by the Lagos administration.
“This particular case must never be swept under the carpets of impunity. Action must be adopted to get to the root of this menace and fish out other culprits to face prosecution,” HURIWA said.
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