The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on Saturday strongly condemned what it described as “the epic, monumental corruption in the Federal Ministry of Works that made virtually most federal roads in the South East and South South death traps.”
The group called for the arrest of all the previous ministers of works and the contractors that failed to execute the jobs they were paid for.
It also said that the rapid failures of federal infrastructures showed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) were just dancing around the main crimes of economic sabotage and corruption and were only after small boys carrying laptops and driving exotic cars they bought with proceeds from advance fees frauds, whereas, the contractors of failed roads, electricity projects and other national infrastructures were lining their pockets with national commonwealth alongside the ministers who steal with the help of rogue contractors.
HURIWA further called for the passage of a law to make corruption punishable by the death penalty because failed roads have led to hundreds of thousands of deaths. It cited the Benin-Sapele – Warri section of the East-West Road, a federal highway that links the six South-South states, which has become a nightmare for motorists, travelers and traders.
“No human being will drive through the Benin – Sapele – Warri section of the East-West Road without crying for the Niger Delta, and the country.
Even cows, goats, fowl, and other animals that traders convey in the several trucks from the northern part of the country that had broken down on the dilapidated road would protest the repulsion,” HURIWA said in a statement signed by its national Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko.
The group lamented that the segment from Benin City, the capital of Edo State, to the oil city of Warri, the commercial nerve center of Delta State was strategically important because if it collapses, four other states – Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River states would be cut off. “That is exactly the situation now,” it added.
HURIWA slammed immediate past Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who while addressing State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting on November 6, 2019, said that Nigerian roads were not as bad as they were portrayed to be.
HURIWA noted that for the eight years of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government (2015-2023), “the administration did nothing substantial to fix the Benin – Sapele – Warri road, and the degradation continued.”
HURIWA vowed to continue to advocate for human rights, justice and good governance in Nigeria. It called on the international community to intervene in the plight of the people of the South East and South South regions.