The leading Civil Rights Advocacy Group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has described as IGBOPHOBIC, discriminatory and unconstitutional, the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to approve the immediate establishment of specialized Technology based and health Universities in five of the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria with the exclusion of the Igbo speaking South East of Nigeria.
HURIWA wondered what the minister of state in the Federal Ministry of Education Mr. Emeka Nwajiuba is doing in the Federal cabinet as the representative of Imo State in South East when his boss and political leader will sideline his Igbo speaking zone in this very strategic matter of creating specialized Technology based and health Universities.
The Rights group has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to perish his Igbo phobia and work towards salvaging his nearly destroyed legacy as a nationalist by immediately approving one of those kind of specialized Technology based and health Universities in the South East of Nigeria as a matter of urgency.
The Rights group also has the following admonition for President Muhammadu Buhari: “Mr. President, stop hating on Igbo speaking ethnicity. We are a very fascinating people who love other people of our nation. Stop demolishing all the fabrics of our National cohesion and integration by openly and brazenly denying Igbo people their constitutionally guaranteed rights and positions and now you are denying us the fundamental human rights to scientific education by establishing universities in other zones but the South East. This hatred you are displaying against a section of Nigeria at such an advanced age is untenable and unsustainable and for sure you will go down as one of the most divisive and bigoted Presidents that Nigeria has ever produced. But you have enough time within your remaining one and half years to make amends and become a nationalist.”
HURIWA submitted that: ” For Six years, we have watched as the current President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has continued to escalate her insidious hatred and maltreatment of the Igbo Speaking people of Nigeria through a cocktail of well coordinated apartheid style denial of the constitutional elementary Federal character principles in appointments into top internal security and defence sectors as it affects the South East of Nigeria.”
“We have watched as the Commander-in-Chief has continued to embark on selective bombardments of the so called enclaves of the Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in the Southeast of Nigeria and the organised genocide being systematically executed by the armed police and soldiers against the members of the Eastern Security Network originally set up by Igbo youths to check the proliferation of violent attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen and militia members of largely the Ethnicity of Fulani.”
“But the same armed troops are not doing anything to crush the proliferation of Fulani armed kidnappers who are kinsmen of President Muhammadu Buhari, bandits and terrorists in the entire Northern region. But this systematic exclusion by President Muhammadu Buhari or the Igbo speaking region as a beneficiary of the newly created specialized universities is to put it mildly totally unconstitutional and tantamount to a very wicked deprivation of the fundamental rights of the citizens of Nigeria of Igbo Extraction. We condemn this apartheid policy of Muhammadu Buhari who would rather fritter $2 billion building railways in Niger Republic rather than extend to the South East of Nigeria what is due to them given that the remaining five geopolitical zones were allocated these universities. ”
HURIWA has told President Muhammadu Buhari that the denial of these Universities to South East of Nigeria violates Section15 (1)of the constitution which says: “The motto of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress.(2) Accordingly, national integration shall be actively encouraged, whilst discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, sex, religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association or ties shall be prohibited.”
HURIWA argues that the discrimination against Igbo ethnicity n the allocation of the Specialized universities violates section 42(1) of the Constitution thus: “A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:-
(a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject; or
(b) be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions.”
HURIWA recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had recently approved the establishment of five new universities specialised in technology and health to close the huge gap in the doctor-patient ratio as well as in medical research and production of pharmaceutical products.
He also approved a take-off grant of N4 billion each for the Universities of Technology and N5 billion each for the Universities of Health Science from the funding resources of TET Fund to ensure early take-off of the institutions.
The Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono who disclosed this on Monday in Abuja said the president approved two additional University of Technology in Jigawa and Akwa Ibom states. Also, the establishment of National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Abuja and two specialized universities in Health, Nutrition and Medical Sciences to be located at Azare, Bauchi State and Ila Orangun, Osun State.
HURIWA quoted the Permanent Secretary as saying the specialized universities would lay a solid foundation for building national preparedness and resilience in anticipation of future challenges in the health sector while reducing medical tourism to countries like India, UAE, Egypt, Europe and the USA just as he noted that the presidents had promised to establish an apex National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Abuja with six Satellite Universities of Technology, one in each geo-political zone of the country, he said the objective is to stimulate rapid technological transformation of the country. The Institute shall be patterned after similar institutions in Singapore and Malaysia to serve essentially as a postgraduate centre devoted to research and innovation, drawing the best graduates from the six Universities of Technology, as well as other exceptional graduates from reputable universities within and outside Nigeria,” he said.