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NHRC Boss Condemns Oritsejafor

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"I was driving on the road one day when I saw a large number of policemen and civil defence (Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps) in a convoy. I thought it was a governor or president that was passing by because the security operatives pushed my vehicle aside". This was a statement made by the boss of NHRC - National Human Rights Commission.

Prof Chidi Odinkalu, the Chairman, Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission has described as excessive the number of security agents attached to the president of the Christian association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.

He wondered why the CAN president would move about with a large number of security operatives, whom he alleged oppressed motorists.

"I was surprised to discover that it was the president of CAN and I even tweeted about it the other day", the human rights crusader said during a lecture at a youth-based forum titled, 'The Platform Nigeria', convened by Pastor Poju Oyemade of the Covenant Christian Center in Lagos, on Wednesday.

The topic of the lecture which was televised live on Channels television, on Wednesday, was "Saying no to the right to impunity".

The NHRC boss said it was rather unfortunate that motorists were being oppressed by those in power and those who ought to be on the side of the masses.

Odinkalu said Nigeria's style of politics and the nonchalant attitude of the masses were to blame for the country's decay.

He said the country would do better if it shunned ethnicity.

"Today, almost every state government would want Alhaji Aliko Dangote to invest and pay tax to it. However, the moment Dangote says he wants to run as senator, they will ask him if he is an indigene. This should not be so. I am happy that Lagos is different in this regard", he said.

He said the Nigerian culture encouraged impunity and corruption, urging Nigerians to stop worshiping political office holders.

"Why do you call them Excellency or Honorable? Call them Governor, call them Senator. It's called public service. If there is no public, there will be no service", he stressed.

He also said that it was unfortunate that even as the country marked it's independence, many towns had been seized by terrorists.

Odinkalu also berated the Federal Government for failing to send a delegation to visit prominent Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, whose three sons were killed by soldiers in an extra-judicial manner.

When PUNCH called Pastor Oritsejafor on the telephone concerning the sgtatements made against him, the CAN president said he had no response to Odinkalu's statements.

"Please I don't know what you're talking about. I have nothing to say", he said.

The CAN president has faced a number of criticisms and allegations since the news that he owned a private jet allegedly used for money laundering broke out.

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