It’s laughable celebrating Buhari’s visit to South East, says HURIWA

Emmanuel Onwubiko

A pro-democracy and non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has described as laughable and pedestrian, the seeming joy and apparent celebrations by some supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari over his proposed visit to the South East of Nigeria.

The rights group has also challenged the president to display presidential statesmanship by discontinuing the implementation of policies and programmes that graphically presents him as being pro-north.

HURIWA in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko in Abuja, yesterday said the group believes that the disproportionate concentration of all or most of the strategic national defence portfolios and internal security command positions in the north under the current dispensation remains a big dent to any claim by President Buhari of being a nationalist and a statesman.

The group said the president must use the opportunity of this state visit to end the perennial alienation and lopsided appointments that relegated the South East to the background in the scheme of things.

It said by constitutional provisions, the President must view all parts of Nigeria as his immediate constituency.

HURIWA said the president must play a nationalistic card.

And against the backdrop of high unemployment rate in oil bearing communities in the Niger Delta, a group, Oil Mining Lease 34 Host Staff Welfare Forum has pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the management of Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, NPDC/ND Western Nigeria Limited to employ the indigenes as permanent staff.

They also demanded for the prompt payment of their salaries; decasualization and issuance of appointment letters with improved condition of service, provision of personal protective equipment and prioritization of their medical care.

In a letter to Buhari by the Chairman, Mr. Paul Oghomor and Secretary, Mr. Kingsley Umukotete they disclosed that the company presently has a manpower strength of over 290 workers out of which only 66 of this number were employed from the seven communities that play host to the asset.

Oghomor and Umukotete lamented that it was cause for concern that the locals employed are casualized despite having worked with the company for over six years since the former operator, SPDC divested its asset to NPDC/ND Western.



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