Calling it the height of criminal dereliction of duty which should attract immediate prosecution for murder of all the officials of the Lagos state Urban Planning Department, top civil Rights group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) is of the position that Lagos state government has failed in its statutory and primary duty of care to the children of Nigeria.
HURIWA 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 audits of all public and private educational facilities in Lagos must be immediately conducted by independent panel of experts.
HURIWA called on the National Assembly to declare a state of Housing and school facilities’ emergency in Lagos state so there could be a nationally funded audits of all public and private schools in Lagos and to commence the immediate upgrade of all public primary schools in Lagos state even as Private School owners should be given a matching order to carry out verifiable upgrade or forfeit their operational licenses within two weeks.
The Rights group also has called 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 audit 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 the Rights group condemned the snail speed dispensation of justice in Lagos with specific reference to cases of collapse buildings even as it blamed judicial corruption for this ugly trend.
In a media statement by the 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 recalled that many primary school pupils were feared dead on Wednesday after a three-storeyed building at Ita Faji, Lagos Island, collapsed around 10am.
The school was said to be on the last floor.
A resident of the area, Prince Adams, who alerted Punch correspondent to the incident on the telephone, said no fewer than 10 pupils had been removed from the rubble so far.
“It is terrible. Parents are crying. I can’t withstand the gorry sight,” he added.
The media reportedly heard cries on the background.
The spokesperson for the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Kehinde Adebayo, confirmed the collapse, adding that emergency officials were already on ground.