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National conference: Agbakoba, SERAP, others, hail inauguration of committee

Lagos- Some prominent lawyers and human rights groups on Monday in Lagos hailed the inauguration of the Advisory Committee on the proposed National Conference by President Goodluck Jonathan, describing it as a right step in the right direction.

They commended the government’s swift move in setting up the committee toward a convocation of the conference.

Jonathan had on Oct. 1 announced a 13-member committee chaired by Sen. Femi Okurounmu to work out modalities for the conference.

A human rights lawyer, Mr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), said the national conference was an
opportunity to address some of the “burning issues” in the country.

“What is important at this stage is the utilisation of the limited platform offered by Jonathanis to engage Nigerians in very robust discussions on the Constitution and without `No-Go issues’, ” he said in a statement.

He reiterated his belief in the convocation of a national dialogue or conference for Nigerians to discuss.

ln its comment, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), a Non- Governmental Organisation, said the inauguration of the committee was a step in the right direction.

Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, the Executive Director of SERAP, told NAN that the government should demonstrate the political will to implement the recommendations of the committee for the conference.

Also speaking, Mr Chino Obiagwu, the National Coordinator, Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), suggested that social groups should be involved in the conference.

Obiagwu said: “It should be a truly national conference where the people participating in it are not hand-picked by the government.

“But generally in principle, we support the initiative and the inauguration of the committee which is the first step toward a national conference.’’

The Executive Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), Mr Debo Adeniran, criticised those who opposed the convening of the conference.

“Those opposing the national conference are self-serving, it is like they are living under an illusion.”

Adeniran dismissed fears being expressed in some quarters that the conference would lead to the disintegration of Nigeria.

The human rights activist called on well-meaning Nigerians to support the  Advisory Committee toward a successful hosting of the conference. (NAN)


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