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Immigration tragedy: SERAP petitions UN

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project on Monday asked the United Nations’ Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, to refer the Federal Government to the appropriate human rights bodies over what it called inhuman treatment of job applicants by the Nigerian Immigration Service.

Among the human rights bodies mentioned in the petition are – the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council.

Over 16 people lost their lives in a stampede as over 500,000 Nigerians converged on centres across the nation to fill less than 5,000 vacancies at the NIS.

The group in a statement issued by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, noted that the UN had to hold the Federal Government accountable in order to maintain its stance on values and moral authority.

It questioned the NIS for receiving N1,000 from each of the applicants, noting that it should be confirmed if the sum was put in the government coffers.

It said, “We believe this is important to achieve international accountability of Nigeria for the violations of the human rights of the job seekers.

“By doing this, the Secretary General will be upholding the values and moral authority of the UN and sending a powerful message that the UN will not tolerate fragrant violations of human rights of Nigerians.

“The unlawful deaths and inhuman and degrading treatment of the job seekers constitute violations of their rights to life, dignity and work.

“The case also shows the growing level of economic injustice caused by pervasive corruption and lack of opportunities for Nigerian children to enjoy the right to employment and to gain a living by work, as guaranteed by international and regional human rights treaties to which Nigeria is a signatory.”

SERAP noted that the Federal Government was responsible for the high level of unemployment.

Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the National Conscience Party, Dr. Tanko Yinusa, has  said that the  loss of lives during the recruitment exercise was caused by corruption.

Yinusa said this at a press conference he addressed in Osogbo on Monday.

He called on the Federal Government to carry out a comprehensive investigation into the tragedy to know how many lives were lost and those who were injured.

The NCP chairman said that the investigation would produce the actual number of the victims, adding that their families must be compensated.

According to him,  although no amount of money can  bring the dead back to life, their families should be compensated to assuage their feelings.

He said, “We are rudely shocked by this disaster. What happened on Saturday across the country during the recruitment exercise by the NIS is a consequence of corruption.

“The large number of unemployed youths who turned out throughout the country is an attestation to the alarming rate of unemployment in the country.”

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