Death Penalty for Corrupt Culprits in Ministry of Works

Death Penalty for Corrupt Culprits in Ministry of Works

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has issued a statement condemning and seeking death penalty for culprits   of the 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 right through its national coordinator also 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 example of 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.

The group through its national coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko , 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-Rivers States would be cut off. That is exactly the situation now, it added.

The group accused the media of consistently drawing attention to the “death trap” that the ramshackle motorway has turned into for nearly two decades, while motorists, travelers, and other citizens have shouted themselves hoarse at the public embarrassment.

It mentioned last Sunday’s falling-off of a petrol tanker on the endangered road, which led to the death of over 20 persons in a consequent detonation, despite the urgent appeals by monarchs, clerics, drivers, commuters, and traders to the government to fix the road, in the last few months.

HURIWA also slammed former Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who while addressing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting on November 6, 2019, said Nigerian roads were not as bad as they portrayed them to be.

“I know that this (discussion) is going to be your headline, but the roads are not that bad. For me, the reports on the poor state of the roads are mere hype and nothing more,” Fashola reportedly said.

The ex-minister specifically said the comments on the Warri-Sapele-Benin road were overblown. Irate Nigerians, who went for his head, jammed the social media with pictures showing the horrible conditions of roads across the country.

HURIWA noted that for the eight years of the President Muhammadu Buhari government (2015-2023), the administration did nothing substantial to fix the Benin-Sapele-Warri road, and the degradation continued. It was at the twilight of the regime in April that Fashola said,

”Talking of Benin-Sapele- Warri, road, we have just awarded the contract because we got funding from the NNPC. There are other roads that we have not touched and I understand that the ones that we have done are no longer newsworthy.”

HURIWA also quoted ex-minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, who later clarified that Buhari approved the reconstruction of the three sections

of the Benin-Sapele-Warri Road under the Federal Government Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme (RITCS).

The group expressed doubt over the sincerity of the government to deliver on its promises,

and urged Nigerians to hold their leaders accountable for their actions and inactions.

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