HURIWA Cautions EFCC over  Students Harassment in Owerri

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A human rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has raised the alarm over alleged incessant arrest harassment and extortion of students in Owerri, Imo State by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and asked them to desist.

The body said the students, especially those living in privately built hostels were targeted by the anti-corruption agency and insisted that they should be allowed to enjoy their constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights and not hounded based on assumptions.

A statement by the body  signed by its Executive Director, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko condemned “a situation whereby armed operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) would constantly storm the living hostels of both female and male students of the tertiary institutions in Owerri, the Imo State capital and round up every students staying in those hostels even without any shreds of empirical evidence linking such innocent students to any suspicious activities linked to advanced fee fraud or 419.”

The action, the body contended, fouled  34(1); 35(1) and section 37 of the Nigeria constitution which guarantees basic freedoms to the citizens including students who must never be subjected to such horrendous ordeals of frequent raids by the operatives of the anti-graft body who have been accused of arbitrarily arresting students only because they live in the same flats with some persons who may be or not suspected at all of committing any criminal act of fraud.

HURIWA accused the anti-graft agency of unduly subjecting these students to unnecessary embarrassment which they reasoned may impede on their studies and academic which calls for abiding by rule of law in their operations.

In another development, the Rights group carpeted the Minister of Health, for what it called “primitive, backward, and retrogressive thinking of importing foreign trained doctors to be employed to work in public hospitals.”

According to HURIWA, the plan by the current health minister had shown the lack of adherence to standard policy implementation in the administration of the health sector and  asked him and his minister of state to resign forthwith if they had run out of workable solutions to the problems afflicting the public healthcare system in the Country. 

“It was this same Federal administration in the first tenure that Nigerians were told loud and clear by the then health minister Dr. Isaac Adewole that Nigeria is producing too many medical professionals and doctors even as the minister then went ahead comically to tell the doctors who are unable to find job slots both in the private and public health facilities to embrace tailoring and other vocational jobs.”

“We in HURIWA are disappointed that those running public health policies in Nigeria are bereft of ideas that can turn around the health sector. Thinking of employing white or foreign doctors or even Cuban/Chinese doctors to work in Nigeria’s health sector is selfish, irrational and an attempt by the ministers to populate the public health facilities with ghost workers.”

“What we need in Nigeria are not foreign doctors but the most up to date medical equipment and facilities that are in tune with the advances in technology of the twenty first century and beyond. The country has more than enough competent doctors but due to corruption by the health institutions, virtually all the yearly budgets for health in the public sector are stolen by politician,” they insisted.