The Human Rights Writers Association, HURIWA, has condemned the collapse of a three-storeyed building which left many feared dead in Itafaji area of Lagos Island on Wednesday.
DAILY POST reported that at least 50 children have been rescued by the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), as well as other security agencies.
Reacting, HURIWA in a statement made available to DAILY POST signed by its national coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, said the Lagos State government should be blamed for the incident over its failure to protect the lives of children in the state.
The group further called for the arrest of the Commissioner for Housing and Urban Planning, Education Commissioner and persecution of officials of the Lagos state Urban Planning Department.
The statement reasd: “The collapse of Lagos three-storey building is the height of criminal dereliction of duty which should attract immediate prosecution forthe murder of all the officials of the Lagos state Urban Planning Department.
“Top civil Rights group HURIWA is of the position that Lagos state government has failed in its statutory and primary duty of care to the children of Nigeria.
“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 audit of all public and private educational facilities in Lagos must be immediately conducted by the 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 licences within two weeks.
“The Rights group also 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 have been carried 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.
“HURIWA 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.