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FG, Queens College management, dragged to court by SERAP

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The Federal Government and the management of Queens College have been dragged to court by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project ( SERAP) over the recent deaths three pupils in the schools.

In a statement released by the deputy director of SERAP, Timothy Adewale, said it petitioned four UN special rapporteurs urging them to use their “good offices and mandates to urgently request the Nigerian government and the authorities at Queen’s College, Lagos to end continuing suffering of students, and ensure justice and effective remedies for the unnecessary loss of lives of three pupils of the school.”

The rapporteurs petitioned are Ms. Koumbou Boly Barry, Special Rapporteur on the right to education; Mr Leo Heller, Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation; Ms. Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on the right to food; and Professor Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

The organisation, in a petition dated 19 June, expressed “serious concern that alleged corruption by the leadership of the school has ruined the lives of several pupils, and squandered their potential for personal development. These girls have depended on the integrity of the authorities both at the Federal Ministry of Education and the school levels but have been badly let down by those entrusted with the power to provide them with access to quality education in a safe environment.”

According to SERAP, “the apparent failure to exercise due diligence and to fulfil the obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the right of these girls to quality education is buttressed by the fact that the school management repeatedly ignored early warnings and complaints from students and parents, the failure to improve facilities and conditions in the school, and the alleged demand of illegal fees and bribes from parents by the school authorities.”

The petition copied to Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, read in part: “SERAP is concerned about the failure of the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Education to diligently, effectively and efficiently exercise its regulatory and oversight functions over Queen’s College and other unity schools across the country. Corruption seems a commonplace across different levels at Queen’s College.”

“The absence of accountability mechanisms within the Federal Ministry of Education is further illustrated by the failure to sanction the leadership of Queen’s College for apparently failing to prevent unnecessary loss of lives and to protect the girls’ right to education in a safe and protected environment.”

“Many of the girls have suffered devastating consequences of corruption, neglect and incompetence, leading to a disregard for their human rights. Yet, those suspected to be responsible for these serious human rights violations have continued to escape justice, thus benefiting from impunity.”

“SERAP believes that preventing and punishing the alleged corruption, mismanagement and failure of the Federal Ministry of Education and the school authorities to exercise due diligence to prevent the unnecessary loss of lives would help to remedy the situation, and to re-establish trust in the legitimacy and integrity of Queen’s College and other public schools.”

“Although international human rights law requires that the material conditions of teaching staff must be continuously improved, the reverse is the case at Queen’s College and several unity schools across the country, as the general working conditions of teachers have deteriorated sharply, reaching unacceptably low levels. Not only is this inconsistent with the government’s international obligations to establish minimum educational standards but it is also a failure of the responsibility to closely monitor educational institutions.”

“SERAP believes that Nigerian children have the right to safety in school establishments that are conducive to a positive learning environment.”

SERAP therefore urged the Special Rapporteurs to:

1. Put pressure on the Federal Government of Nigeria and the authorities at Queen’s College to urgently end the apparently deteriorating situation and living conditions of girls in the school and to strengthen the school’s reputation;

2. Ask the Federal Government of Nigeria to establish Code of Conduct for Queen’s College and other unity schools across the country, including on the proper professional conduct required of the schools’ authorities and their relationship with Parents Teachers Association and other bodies, and to specify the consequences of non-compliance as well as provide for timely remedial action;

3. Ask the Federal Government of Nigeria to audit Queen’s College and other unity schools across the country and to compel the schools’ authorities to embrace ‘integrity pledges’ between those schools and parent groups in order to incentivise anti-corruption practices and improve the schools’ reputation;

4. Ask the Federal Government of Nigeria to promptly, thoroughly, impartially and transparently investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the three girls, and to bring anyone that is found to be responsible to justice as well as provide adequate compensation to the victims and their families, and publicly guarantee non-repetition;

5. Request to visit the country to assess the efforts by the Federal Ministry of Education and Queen’s College to implement these recommendations

“According to our information, three students of Queen’s College, Lagos–Vivian Osuinyi, Bithia Itulua and Praise Sodipo–died between February and March 2017 primarily due to systemic corruption and the failure of the authorities including the Federal Ministry of Education, and the leadership of the school to exercise due diligence to ensure the right to life of the students including by ensuring access to safe drinking water and sanitation.”

“The Cable Investigative Team found that school management ignored parents’ and old students’ early warnings on contaminated water and foods. No one has yet to be held to account for these alleged serious violations of human rights. According to the Investigative Team, the three girls died as a result of consumption of contaminated water and foods in the school. Many students also became seriously ill between January and March 2016, with several reporting different forms of infections. Many girls manifested signs of skin, vaginal and abdominal infections, and were stooling and vomiting.”

Source: ( Punch Newspaper )

National News

James Bond actor, Sean Connery dies at 90

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James Bond actor, Sean Connery dies at 90

Scottish actor, Sir Sean Connery, has died at the age of 90.

He was best known for his portrayal of James Bond, being the first to bring the role to the big screen and appearing in seven of the spy thrillers.

He was largely regarded as being the best actor to have played 007 in the long-running franchise, often being named as such in polls. His acting career spanned decades and his many awards including an Oscar, two Bafta awards and three Golden Globes.

Sir Sean’s other films included The Hunt for Red October, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Rock.

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National News

Gov Ayade Reviews Curfew In Cross River

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Gov Ayade Reviews Curfew In Cross River
Gov Ayade Reviews Curfew In Cross River

Ben Ayade

Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade has relaxed the curfew in the state from 4 pm-6 am to 6 am-6 pm.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Governor’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Christain Ita on Saturday.

The new time is scheduled to take effect from Saturday, October 31st.

Also Read: Taraba Govt Sets Up Task Force To Recover Looted Items

Recall that following the hijacking of the peaceful protest against police brutality in the state by hoodlums, the state governor, imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state, on Friday, October 23, 2020.

“The state governor, His Excellency, Sir Ben Ayade has reviewed the curfew imposed on the state and has directed that with effect from Saturday, October 31, 2020, curfew hours will now be between the hours of 6 pm and 6 am daily.

“Restriction of movement is hereby relaxed from 6 am to 6 pm,” the statement added.

 

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El-Rufai Meets Youth Leaders, Condemns Attack On Police Officers

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El-Rufai Meets Youth Leaders, Condemns Attack On Police Officers
El-Rufai Meets Youth Leaders, Condemns Attack On Police Officers

Governor El-rufai

Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-rufai has condemned the attack on police officers and police barracks in the State following the outbreak of violence that trailed the #EndSARS protest.

He made this remark when he met with youth leaders from the 23 Local Government Areas of the state on Friday.

At the event, he appealed to them not to engage in any act of violence or looting.

El-Rufai vowed to prosecute those behind the looting and threat of peace in Kaduna South and Chikun Local Government Areas according to the law.

Also Read: Taraba Govt Sets Up Task Force To Recover Looted Items

“You cannot condemn an entire profession because of the misconduct of a few. SARS is just a small unit of the Nigerian Police Force, and even among SARS, they are not all bad,” he said

“Yes, some of them might have been quite bad and killed many people, but that should not be used to frame the police in a manner that people feel justified to attack and kill policemen.

“I have seen a video where a policeman was attacked and burnt to death. For what? That policeman is a human being, creation from God, he has children, and he has a family.

“Who will look after them? The Nigerian Police is the only police we have, it Is our collective duty as citizens, as leaders to come together and help the police to be better.”

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