The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked the Federal Government to set up an independent probe panel to uncover the cause and circumstances surrounding the heavy fire outbreaks reported at the multimillion naira worth Federal Secretariat complex in Abuja to see if subterranean sabotage is responsible for this scale of inferno.
HURIWA also said it was incongruous and inexplicable that in such massive public structures that fire extinguishers were not available even with millions of Naira voted and released annually as a component of the Appropriation Act which is a binding law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The group has charged the government to go after officials of government charged with procurement for those federal agencies domiciled in the Federal Secretariat so as to retrieve all diverted and looted public fund.
The inferno has now exposed the underbelly of these corrupt officials who are fond of diverting public fund budgeted for anti-fire equipment.
In a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA warned against hiding under the carpets the circumstances and persons remotely or directly indicted in the inferno, which may have resulted in heavy financial damage to the Nigerian government.
HURIWA has also called for investigation to determine whether public housing assets are properly insured and what level of anti- fire mechanisms are activated all around the Federal government owned housing assets.
“We find it shocking that a high profile housing assets like the Federal Secretariat Complex located within the precincts of the Three Arms Zone adjacent the imposing State House Aso Rock in Abuja could be set ablaze and civil servants working in those premises are exposed to unmitigated risks to their lives and sadly there are no functional fire fighting facilities located within the premises.
“This is an abomination. This shows Nigeria in a very bad light given that these offices most often host foreign dignitaries and investors from Europe, America, Asia and other continents of the World. This bad incident in the heart of the Federal Capital Territory must not be swept under the carpets. Apart from fishing out the culprits and retrieving public fund meant originally for fire-fighting but stolen by officials in the Procurement departments of these federal ministries, government should locate a fully equipped fire fighting unit within the Federal Secretariat complex. Government should provide life insurance package to the workforce,” the group said.