Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, on Sunday, urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, to probe the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; and the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola over an alleged swap of constituency project.
The rights group said the two anti-corruption agencies need not wait for formal petitions but should act based on the evidence adduced by the viral video.
The group also expressed concern that President Muhammadu Buhari went ahead in early January this year to sign the Appropriation Bill 2023 sent to him into law even when he observed that the document was heavily padded.
It said the President ought to have sent his observations to the anti-graft agencies, so those responsible for the criminal padding of the budget are arrested, prosecuted and sanctioned in line with the law.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement on the allegations against the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives and the Works Minister regarding the Federal College of Education, Umunze, Anambra State, said if found to be guilty after investigation, the Speaker and the Minister should be arrested and prosecuted immediately by the anti-graft agencies.
According to reports, a news commentator in a viral video captured how a project for inner roads for the Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, located in the Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State, was found to be executed in the Surulere I constituency of Lagos State.
In fact, the project board mounted at a site in Surulere listed the school as the client for a project in Gbajabiamila’s constituency; the project being the construction and reconstruction of an inner access road in Surulere Olodi Okuta/Aralule Akinyele Street.
The Speaker’s name was also boldly written as the project facilitator. The commentator who shared the video also showed graphic evidence to demonstrate that the said Federal College of Education, which is purportedly the client to the contractors constructing the roads in Surulere, has no functional roads, just as the federal educational facility in Anambra State is in a state of dysfunctionality and poor infrastructure.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “It is scandalous and heartbreaking that the current Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and Minister for Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, are being accused in this very viral video of allegedly diverting infrastructural development away from the South-East and denying the South East its own quota of infrastructure.
“As shown in that video and as facts have shown that the Federal Government is currently renovating old state-inherited federal housing in Surulere, Shitta housing estate, parks in Surulere. In fact, Surulere has the highest number of street lights per block than anywhere in Nigeria. Nearly every compound has a street light.
“All inner roads tarred with well-covered drainage systems. All the state and local government roads in Surulere and Lagos at large are being done under the Federal Government under Fashola as Minister of Works and Gbajabiamila as speaker. Surulere has the best public schools and hospitals. Same as the President’s hometown in Daura, Katsina State.
“Sadly, however, many federal roads in the South-East have been abandoned by the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Top amongst these roads includes the Okigwe/Arondizuogu/Akokwa/Amichi to Oba junction federal road.
“But in what sufficiently seems now like a deliberate ploy to destroy the South-East economically and socially as civilization often follows the road, these roads around the South-East were deliberately abandoned since 1999 till this day.”