A passionate appeal from the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has gone to the Imo State governor Mr. Rochas Okorocha to end the regime of unprecedented transportation nightmares created by his administration’s phasing out of Keke tricycle operators from Owerri Metropolis.
Besides, the Imo State government has been tasked to partner with relevant federal security agencies to provide efficient and regular security in and around the Imo State Cargo Airport which according to the Rights group looks porous and not adequately secured.
The Rights group affirmed that during a visit to the Airport facility by a team that was to catch a connecting flight from Owerri back to Abuja in the early hours of the 31st December 2017 found the Airport completely unprotected by operatives of the armed security forces even as millions of Naira are lost through revenue leakages created by the irregular presence of the officials at strategic entrance to the aviation facilities.
HURIWA expressed shock that at a time that the nation is still contending with security problems occasioned by armed Islamists of Boko Haram, the Imo state government and the relevant Federal Aviation agencies are found wanting in the area of professionally providing fool proof security in and around the Imo Airport in Owerri.
The pro-democracy and non-Governmental organization also charged the Imo State governor and the state house of Assembly to work out and implement measures to enhance the smooth transportation and movements of commuters and visitors to the state as this is a vital function of government.
HURIWA wrote thus: “May we appeal to the political authorities in Imo State to eschew egotistic politics and stop forthwith all draconian policies that are targeted at impoverishing the people of Imo people such as the non-payment of workers/pensioners salaries and allowances and the state imposed dysfunctionality in the intra-city transportation in Owerri Metropolitan area. These twin social evils of poor intra-city transportation strategy in Owerri and other flashpoints such as Orlu, Okigwe and Mgbidi and the perennial lack of regular payments of salaries to Imo State civil servants and retirees have combined to make the living conditions of Millions of Imolites and visitors alike both miserable and brutish”.
“The essence of government is not to service the selfish interest of one family but rather to provide safeguards and bulwark against such unnecessarily transportation miseries caused by poor policy implementation. We regret to assert that Imo state is seriously suffering from a deficit of good governance and leadership and it is our wish to charge the governor and the political class to live up to their constitutional mandate”.
Expressing strong consternation on how the Imo State administration under Mr. Rochas Okorocha phased out the popular Keke tricycles without conceptualizing and implementing lasting solution to the gaps that have now been created even amidst the presence of just few number of rickety taxi cabs named Imo taxi which now ply the city of Owerri, HURIWA stated that the poor transportation policy in Imo State will also affect the economic activities in Owerri and discourage tourists and visitors from congregating or carrying out their legitimate businesses in Imo State.
HURIWA accused the Imo State government of discrimination against the poor, students and unemployed by phasing out the only means of movements without bringing into effect, good enough replacements to provide affordable transportation services to millions of residents of the Imo State capital.
HURIWA stated that Imo state government must be made aware that some of the worst human rights violations have resulted from discrimination against specific groups.
“The right to equality and the principle of non-discrimination, explicitly set out in international and regional human rights treaties, are therefore central to human rights. The right to equality obliges States to ensure observance of human rights without discrimination on any grounds, including sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, membership of a national minority, property, birth, age, disability, sexual orientation and social or other status.”
HURIWA also averred that more often than not, the discriminatory criteria used by States and non-State actors to prevent specific groups from fully enjoying all or some human rights are based on such characteristics.