Falana, Others To Sue NBC Over Channels TV Closure
The activists explained that in as much as section 39 of the 1999 Constitution gives right to the press to disseminate information, the same constitution gives Nigerians right to receive information, which they were denied for three days.
Falana, who spoke at the Annual General Meeting of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, CDHR, on Saturday, in Ikeja, Lagos, said that it is necessary to challenge the closure to send a strong message to the Federal Government that in a democratic dispensation, excesses will not be tolerated.
He warned that if president Yar’Adua can back the closure of an independent television station only days after he returned from a medical check-up in Saudi Arabia, he ‘might close down the whole country when he is hale and hearty’.
“If Yar’Adua becomes hale and hearty, he will declare a full blown war on the media and the Niger Delta. He will close down the whole country,” Falana said. Falana also faulted the creation of the Niger Delta Ministry, saying it is doomed to fail.
He said that there has been no ministry in the country that has received more money than the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, with nothing to show for it, adding that “what we have got in the Niger Delta is pollution, depravation and injustice.”
He said the solution was not the creation of a ministry, but politics of justice in the oil producing region. Delivering a paper at the event about ‘the poor health of Nigeria’, Comrade Osagie Obayuwana said that “the diagnosis is unanimous that Nigeria is sick, very, very sick”, adding that “this indeed is a very serious matter, a defining moment that calls for deep soul searching”
He said beyond many kidney related diseases in the country at the moment, “polio may enjoy resurgence and spread to other parts of Africa and the world where that deadly disease, directly traceable to poor living conditions, has been wiped out.”
Osagie said there is “the pervasiveness of rulership and the near total absence of leadership” in the country. He added: “When the stream is polluted from the source, the people die of thirst; that is to say, when the head of the fish is rotten, nothing good can be expected from the rest of the body.”
Dr. Funmi Adewumi, of the department of Industrial Relations and Personal Management, Crawford University, Ogun Sate, warned that “if care is not taken, the worst is yet to come
He added: “those who found themselves in power are those without any commitment to the welfare of the people, and this is aptly demonstrated by their greed in conceding juicy packages to themselves without caring about the plight of their electors”
He called on Nigerians “to engage the development process as active participants while civil society organisations must facilitate the process of engament.” President of the CDHR, Mr. Olasupo Ojo, called on Nigerians to join en masse the human rights movement and obtain membership forms so as to advance the struggle for a better Nigeria.