HURIWA Calls For Inquiry Into Prince Harry, Meghan’s Visit To Nigeria

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HURIWA
HURIWA Calls For Inquiry Into Prince Harry, Meghan’s Visit To Nigeria

HURIWA Calls For Inquiry Into Prince Harry, Meghan’s Visit To Nigeria—-A non-governmental civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called for for a comprehensive investigation into the recent visit of Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, to Nigeria.

The association expressed concerns regarding the funding of the visit, questioning whether it was accounted for in any existing budget allocation and demanded transparency concerning who financed the trip.

HURIWA also condemns what it calls extravagant hosting of wives of African presidents in Abuja, Nigeria at a time millions of Nigerians are confronting the costs of living crisis and adverse economic crunch with over 133 million Nigerian households in multidimensional poverty and over 18 million Nigerian children who are out-of-school.

“These frivolous expenditures of scarce public funds are despicable and condemnable,” HURIWA said in a statement signed by its national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, on Tuesday.

HURIWA also conveyed bewilderment over the official protocols extended to the royal couple during their visit, especially in light of the British government’s explicit disassociation from the trip.

“The visit purportedly initiated at the invitation of Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa has raised questions about its funding source and official endorsement, particularly as it was clarified by British High Commissioner Dr. Richard Montgomerry that the visit was of a private nature and not affiliated with the British government.”

“Despite this clarification, Prince Harry and Meghan were accorded significant diplomatic courtesies, raising questions about the involvement of Nigerian government departments and the expenditure of public funds for a private engagement,” HURIWA lamented.

HURIWA emphasized the imperative for accountability and transparency in public expenditure, especially given Nigeria’s ongoing socio-economic challenges, including protests by detained soldiers over poor living conditions and inadequate facilities. The association questioned whether the financing of the royal couple’s visit was included in any existing government budget and, if so, which department allocated funds for this purpose.

Additionally, HURIWA underscored the absence of reciprocity in diplomatic engagements, noting that while Nigeria hosted the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, there is no historical precedent of Nigerian royalty being hosted by European nations. According to the premier civil rights advocacy group, this raises concerns about the allocation of public funds for a visit that may not align with diplomatic norms and priorities.

Quoting extensively from a British tabloid, Mail Online News report, which detailed the luxurious accommodations and extensive itinerary of Prince Harry and Meghan during their visit, HURIWA further highlighted the need for transparency regarding the financial implications of their stay, including the costs of security arrangements and accommodations at the Fraser Suites in Abuja.

“Is it correct to say that the Defence Headquarters financed the visit since they are widely quoted as host?, we in HURIWA questions the prioritization of such alleged expenditures if verified that the Defence Headquarters funded the trip and this is distressing because of the pervasive pressing issues such as the welfare of wounded soldiers and ongoing security challenges. As a pro-democracy, non-governmental, and not-for-profit organization, we call for accountability measures to ensure that resources are allocated judiciously to address urgent national priorities.”

“Why would the Defence Headquarters allocate funds for a private visit, if as host it is confirmed that the Defence Headquarters financed the elaborately expensive trip while detained soldiers protest against inadequate feeding conditions and detention facility standards? What efforts has the Nigerian Defence Headquarters made to support the hundreds of soldiers wounded and incapacitated by terrorists while defending our nation? This underscores the significance of initiatives like the Invictus Games, championed by Prince Harry and Meghan, which highlights the importance of rehabilitation for wounded war veterans. HURIWA is demanding full disclosures on the part of key government officials including the Chief of Defence Staff regarding the status of the financing of the private visit.

“The disturbing protest staged by detained Nigerian Army personnel at the Sokoto barracks highlights grave concerns over the conditions within military detention facilities. Major General Onyema Nwachukwu’s acknowledgement of the protest as ‘unfortunate and embarrassing’ reflects the severity of the situation and the urgent need for accountability. We echo the call for a comprehensive inquiry to determine the extent of similar issues across detention centres, emphasizing that such conduct undermines the integrity of the armed force.”

In conclusion, HURIWA reiterated the importance of transparency and accountability in government expenditures and diplomatic engagements.

The association urged relevant authorities to conduct a thorough probe into the financing and decision-making processes surrounding Prince Harry and Meghan’s visit to Nigeria, with a focus on ensuring that public funds are utilized in the best interest of the Nigerian people.

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