Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has expressed concern over the recent statements made by some ministers under the administration of President Bola Tinubu, which seem to be unrealistic, unattainable and out of touch with the reality of the Nigerian situation.

In a statement signed by the National Coordinator-Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), Comrade
Emmanuel Onwubiko, and made available to NIM, the group called on the ministers to stop deceiving Nigerians with their unrealistic and unattainable promises and focus on doing their jobs with honesty, integrity and competence.

HURIWA said governing “a grossly underdeveloped society made so by thieving politicians of their party,” was beyond reeling out students’ like utopian manifestos, noting that it required seriousness of purpose, accountability, transparency and effective implementation of policies and programmes that would address the needs and aspirations of the Nigerian people

The group said “we are not impressed by the claims of the Minister of Works, David Umahi, who says the proposed Abuja-Lagos Supersonic highway will be completed in four years. Umahi who stated this in a press conference in Lagos on Saturday, noted that driving from Lagos to Abuja will take 4 hours when the project is completed.

This is a blatant lie and an insult to the intelligence of Nigerians who have suffered for decades from the poor state of roads and infrastructure in the country. How can a project that has not even started be completed in four years when previous administrations have failed to deliver on similar promises? How can a supersonic highway be built in a country that lacks basic amenities such as electricity, water and security? How can Nigerians trust a minister who has been accused of corruption and mismanagement of funds meant for road projects?

We are also not convinced by the statement of the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, who has said that under his watch, no Nigerian would be an illiterate”

In 2022, the former Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Opiah said 31 per cent of the nation’s population could not read or write. This shows that out of 223,804,632 Nigerians population, 68,379,436 cannot read or write in the country. However, Mamman in Abuja on Friday during the commemoration of the 2023 International Literacy Day said the President has directed that every Nigerian must be educated.

This is a mere rhetoric and a mockery of the educational sector that has been neglected and underfunded by successive governments. How can a minister whose ministry has serially failed to address the issues of teachers’ welfare, curriculum reform, quality assurance, access and equity, infrastructure and learning materials claim to eradicate illiteracy in Nigeria? How can Nigerians trust a minister who has yer to publish a plan of action on what he intends to implement and their timeline to enhance literacy?

We are also not moved by the declaration of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, who has restated President Bola Tinubu’s commitment towards creating 10 million jobs through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. This is a false and empty promise that has no basis in reality. How can a minister who has failed to provide humanitarian assistance and relief to millions of Nigerians affected by conflicts, disasters and poverty claim to create 10 million jobs? How can Nigerians trust a minister whose ministry unser the immediate past dispensation was accused of diverting funds meant for social intervention programmes such as N-Power, TraderMoni and School Feeding Programme? This same minister for Humanitarian Affairs was allegedly caught on camera sharing dollars to her staff when she was the National women’s leader of APC and soon after sue was appointed? In what way does she plan to createvthe employment opportunities and what is the timeframe?” the statement read.

The civil rights group also call on President Bola Tinubu to hold the ministers accountable for their actions and inactions and ensure they delivered on their mandates or face sanctions.

HURIWA urged the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to coordinate efficient monitoring of the ministers while the federal government should set up a performance assessment mechanism whereby the ministers are marked quarterly, and sacked if they failed to reach certain acceptable standard of performance based on empirical data.

The group reiterated their commitment to holding public officials accountable for their actions and ensuring that Nigerians enjoy their fundamental rights and freedoms, noting that the group is not afraid to speak truth to power and challenge any form of injustice or oppression in the society.

HURIWA is a non-governmental organisation that promotes human rights, democracy and good governance in Nigeria.

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