HURIWA Wants Nnewi Gas Explosion Investigated By United Nations

*Condemns NHRC's; NASS's Inability To Resolve A Case Of The Dozens Of Freshly Executed And Dumped Corpses Few Years Back In Awka River
By Emmanuel Onwubiko

Few hours after visiting the affected area in NNEWI, the pro-democracy Non-governmental organisation -HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA ) has asked the United Nations and African Union to probe the remote and immediate causes of the unfortunate gas explosions that left over 100 residents of NNEWI the industrial hub of Anambra State dead or maimed.

HURIWA said there was urgent need for such global intervention because on previous occasions few months back when such sad incidents happened such as the discovery of over forty freshly executed corpse that were allegedly dumped in Awka River by the Anambra State police command, the relevant bodies such as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the 7th session of the National Assembly compromised the investigations and failed to bring the culprits to trial in the competent courts of law.

HURIWA said such cocktails of impunity and cover ups by federal government agencies and the National Assembly mustn't be swept under the carpets any longer and vowed to press on with her advocacy for a transparent and accountable closures to all these incidents.

HURIWA said local investigative mechanisms are heavily compromised and corrupt and therefore can't be trusted to come up with evidence based findings. "Government must restructure the National Human Rights Commission to become responsive and proactive to provide redress to victims of human rights violations ".

Speaking on the suspected Gas explosions in NNEWI Anambra State the Rights group said the general perceptions and suspicions by majority of the people who witnessed the inferno was that suicide bombers allegedly linked to the North East of Nigeria's based armed Islamists -Boko Haram terrorists may have masterminded the violence in the industrial plant owned by a respected Nigerian manufacturer. HURIWA said it would be foolhardy to discredit this line of suspicions of Boko Haram terrorists' links to the Nnewi gas explosions unless proper investigation is carried out by independent -minded persons and institutions.

HURIWA recalled that on the eve of Christmas in Nnewi, Anambra State, scores were killed when an industrial gas plant suddenly exploded. The group lamented that the business-as- usual pattern of photoshop by government officials who visits the unfortunate victims in hospitals to make meaningless remarks just to be seen in the media have commenced in earnest without commensurate effort by government at the center to uncover the real causes of this sad incident.

Many of the victims were trapped inside
the Inter Corp Oil Limited (LPG Gas
Plant) factory, a subsidiary of Chikason
Group, located along Nnewi-Okigwe road
behind Innoson Motor Manufacturing
Industry, HURIWA recalled.
HURIWA quoted local reports as stating that most of the victims, who had gone to the

gas plant to get a refill ahead of
Christmas were burnt beyond
recognition, while some others, who
were in the neighborhood and
surroundings of the gas plant also got
caught in the inferno.
HURIWA recalled that the few lucky victims, who were severely

burnt, have reportedly been taken to Nnamdi
Azikwe University Teaching Hospital,
NAUTH, Nnewi but regretted that most of these persons have been abandoned by government.

HURIWA quoting local reports said: "The fire destroyed the depot and its

surroundings including some buildings
and cars around it. Workers, customers
and motorcyclists are among those
feared dead. The cause of the fire, which
started in the afternoon was yet to be
ascertained as at press time."
In a statement signed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said there was urgent need to launch an open, transparent, independent and an accountable investigative process by trustworthy international bodies like the United Nations Human Rights Council and the African Human Rights Department of the African Union to investigate widespread allegations of terrorists involvement.

From pragmatic evidence it seems those who point accusing fingers on Boko Haram terrorists may after all not be totally wrong unless and except contrary body of evidence is seen. Islamic terrorists are known for going for soft targets and for launching daring attacks to score symbolic pyrrhic victory."

"Several violent events happened in Anambra State including the Catholic Church adoration ground's stampede somewhere near Onitsha which claimed dozens of Worshippers and the discovery of freshly killed human remains abandoned in a community River near Awka the Anambra State capital during the administration of Mr Peter Obi but both the National Assembly and the National Human Rights Commission conducted investigations whose outcomes didn't only suffer official compromise and secrecy but the culprits were never punished.

We want the global body such as the UN to be invited to investigate whether Boko Haram was behind the recent mass killings that resulted from the gas explosions in NNEWI Anambra State. The Nigerian government must facilitate this investigation immediately".