The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has frowned at a statement credited to the Ogun State Government, accusing it of ‘crying more than the bereaved’, as it called on the governor of the state, Ibikunle Amosun, to take responsibility for the sacking of six education workers in the state over “offensive exam questions.”
The group stated this in a statement on Monday by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, urging Amosun to “show leadership and uphold his constitutional oath of office by immediately ensuring the reinstatement of the unjustly sacked education officials rather than attempting to shift responsibility to the Ogun State Civil Service Commission.”
It will be recalled that the state government had sacked 6 workers of the state ministry of education for setting what was considered as offensive exam questions. This prompted SERAP to report Amosun to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Mr. Kishore Singh, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Mr. David Kaye.
The group accused Amosun of unlawfully and unfairly violating “internationally recognised human right to academic freedom and freedom to hold opinion” for the sacking of the education workers.
However, the state government accused SERAP of “jumping the gun and crying more than the bereaved” by rushing to petition the UN without first finding out the facts.
Responding to government’s tongue lashing, SERAP insisted on Monday that it had the duty to write the petition as it did and urged Amosun not to shift the blame but to ensure the reinstatement of the sacked workers.
“SERAP is not crying more than the bereaved, as alleged by the government but is merely carrying out its mandate to promote and advance the human rights of all Nigerians, including those of the sacked education officials.
“The acts or omissions of the Ogun State Civil Service Commission crucially engage the responsibility of the government of Ogun State in so far as they raise issues in respect of constitutional rights and the fulfilment of the country’s international human rights obligations and commitments, as it is clearly the case in the unjust sacking of the education officials.
“The people of Ogun State, including the sacked education officials, reasonably expect that when the Ogun State Civil Service Commission fails to comply with constitutional rights and international treaties in the discharge of its functions, their government would stand up for them rather than attempting to dodge responsibility.
“The government of Ogun State and the Ogun State Civil Service Commission, acting on its behalf, are therefore obliged to consider full respect for human rights in the discharge of their functions and exercise of their discretion and authority.
“It doesn’t seem too much to ask that the Ogun State Government stand up for justice, fairness and human rights, whether it is through its direct acts or omissions or those by the Ogun State Civil Service Commission. Indeed, it is consistent with the letter and spirit of the constitution and international law that it should be incumbent on the government to do so,” the group said.