DON’T FUND NATIONAL CONFERENCE —HURIWA tells Jonathan •Wants P/H, Kaduna as venues

Posted by News Express | 10 October 2013 | 4,211 times

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The Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan not to release public funds for the purpose of sponsoring the proposed National Conference but to explore self-funding options by delegates to the talk shop.

The group in a statement issued in Abuja also suggested that the venue of the conference should be in Port Harcourt, southern Nigeria for half of the duration and Kaduna, northern Nigeria, for the remaining half. This, according to the statement signed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, is to decongest Abuja from crowded events and allow public and civil servants in Nigeria’s political capital to continue their service delivery for the public good devoid of bureaucratic distraction.

The rights group said it would amount to the greatest disservice to public interest/good should scarce financial resources that ought to be injected into strategic educational and health sectors to be diverted to fund mere dialogue whose recommendations would be further subjected to Presidential and National Assembly vetting and/or approvals.

In the thinking of HURIWA, it will amount to monumental waste of public funds and indeed would constitute unconstitutional conduct should public fund be committed by Federal Government to hosting the National Conference when the National Assembly did not provide for it in the extant national appropriations Act of year 2013.

Besides, HURIWA said since the promoters of the idea of a national dialogue are mostly upwardly mobile young patriots belonging to self-funding non-governmental bodies with a sprinkling of elderly statesmen and women who have achieved fame and fortune through hard work, it will be too much of financial burden to Nigeria’s increasingly dwindling public treasury should the proposed National Conference be sponsored with public fund.

HURIWA in the statement said those to be nominated as delegates to the National Conference should fund their deliberations as part of their individual and collective sacrifices to nation-building “particularly at these trying times that Nigerian government has failed to run public universities that have remained closed due to industrial action by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) occasioned by severe paucity of fund to sufficiently equip public universities.”

According to HURIWA, “Although we see the proposed national conference as a white-wash and at best a gambit that may not fundamentally address and redress the diverse challenges confronting Nigeria since the recommendations will be non-binding, we nevertheless wish to hereby suggest to government to ensure that public fund is not spent funding this national conference but should galvanise the private sector and development partners locally to fund the conference or even explore the possibility of self funding by each delegate to the proposed Nigerian National Conference.” 

•Photo shows Chairman of National Conference Planning Committee, Dr. Femi Okurounmu.

Source: News Express

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