By Dirisu Yakubu, ABUJA
Foremost rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, Monday, condemned the reported fire incident that gutted part of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS headquarters, Abuja on Sunday.
This is as the group alleged that the building was set ablaze “apparently to conceal evidence of massive corruption,” in the affairs of the agency.
In a statement issued in Abuja, HURIWA Executive Director/National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, raised a number of questions including “why the coincidence between the reported expiration of the tenure of the comptroller general of NIS and the fire incident?; and “is this a case of sabotage? And if not, why will such a big complex not house 21st-century compliant fire service equipment within the complex?” among others.
The statement read in part: “We think that this fire incident is one too many to be dismissed as a mere coincidence. We suspect that there is a grand design to cover up some alleged financial heists/ malfeasance at the topmost level of government.
“This demands transparent and an open independent probe and not the in-house probe going on as we speak. The Nigerian Immigration Services headquarters is a national institution of global significance, so the incident of fire emergency must be thoroughly investigated to eliminate or establish a case of sabotage or otherwise. An attack on the Nigerian Immigration Services headquarters is a direct attack on the national security interest of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“This is because there have been so many fire incidences. First was in the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, closely followed by the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.”
According to HURIWA, “In the case of the three previous fire incidences, they happened during the lockdown when there was supposed to be adequate security measures in place, sadly these fire incidences in these major institutions have happened and swept under the carpet and there are no open investigations. We think that there is something fishy about this. Let the government tell Nigerians what they are hiding and why are institutions going up in flames.
The group also tasked citizens not to forget the sequence of these fire incidents saying “one interesting mystery of these fire incidences is their sequence. Nigerians were shocked to know that days after the CAC and the Treasury House in Abuja were gutted by fire, a section of INEC headquarters in Maitama-Abuja was also gutted by fire. Exactly one week after the headquarters of the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation was gutted by fire; there was another fire incident at the headquarters of the Corporate Affairs Commission.”