The news about the appointment of Barrister Felix Morka, a Harvard trained Lawyer, Development Specialist, Human Rights Advocate and an illustrious son of Ika Nation as Senior Special Assistant on Legal and Constitutional Matters to Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, elicited separate sets of reaction among the members of Ika Weekly Newspapers.
First, aside from Felix Morka being eminently qualified for the position, of which we felicitate with him, his appointment in our views postures Deputy Senate President as a very intelligent leader. The reason is hinged on the fact that the first opinion that is formed of a leader’s intelligence is based on the quality of men he has around him. When they are competent and loyal, he can always be considered wise, because he has been able to recognize their competence and to keep them loyal. But when they are otherwise, the ruler is always open to adverse criticism; because his first mistake has been in the choice of his subordinates.
Looking at Felix Morka professional antecedent and academic profile, he is among the notable Nigerians with extraordinary intellect, very high energy and vigour and other attributes profoundly important to build a modern nation.
As a fresh law graduate, Felix Morka left no one in doubt of his vision and mission of being the advocate of the downtrodden and voice of the voiceless, as he immediately teamed up with the foremost Human Rights Group in Nigeria-The Civil Liberty Organization (CLO), where he rose to the position of a Legal Director.
As a golden fish which has no hiding place, his superlative showing at CLO paved way for him as he was invited by the New York based Human Rights Watch. FELIX MORKA DRAGS PARTY, INEC, ALIKA TO COURT
In May 1995, Morka established the Social and Economic Rights Action Centre (SERAC), a non-Governmental, Non-partisan and Non-Profitable Organization concerned with the protection of social and economic rights in Nigeria. It’s three mutually reinforcing programmes (the Monitoring and Advocacy Programme (MAP), The Community Action Programme (CAP) and the Legal Action Programme (LAP), create awareness about specific rights and integrated economic, social and cultural rights issue. Through research, education, advocacy and community, SERAC projects explore a strategy for broadening individuals and communities participation in the design and implementation of policies and programmes which affect them.
Using SERAC as a vehicle, Felix Morka with his teaming young but professionally dedicated staff researched, monitored and documented Nigeria’s economic, social and cultural rights practices; Educated, created public awareness about economic, social and cultural rights; And provided legal assistance to individuals and groups seeking to assert their economic, social and cultural rights, and litigated in the public interest. He conscientiously promoted the rights of marginalized sections of the population (e.g. women, children, the aged, the disabled, People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).
In rendering this humanitarian service, FM, as he is fondly called by friends and admirers, shot himself to the global stage. As he was routinely invited by the United Nations to head, and in some cases give expert advice to their different committees. BARRISTER FELIX MORKA JOINS 2019 GUBERNATORIAL RACE
Here in Nigeria, he is the friend of the urban poor and solicitor/advocate of the occupant of the blighted communities. From Abuja to Lagos, Ogun state to Rivers state and back to his home state-Delta.
As an illustration, the original occupants of Durumi, Chika, Karu/Nyanya, Karmo, Kubwa and Gwagwa whose houses were spared during the mindless demolition in the name of restoration of Abuja master plan by Chief Olusegun administration will forever remain grateful to Barrister Morka and his organization-SERAC as it was their ceaseless effort that halted the demolition.
Similarly, the people of Ogoni land in Rivers state will not forget Felix Morka or the Social and Economic Rights Action Center (SERAC). As they, working in close collaboration with the New York-based Centre for Economic and Social Rights(CESR) filed a communication (Social and Economic Rights Action Center (SERAC) Vs Nigeria) with suit Number 155/96 before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights against the Federal Military Government of Nigeria asserting that the wide spread contamination of soil, water and air, the destruction of homes and the climate of terror visited upon the Ogoni communities constituted a violation of their rights to health, a healthy environment, housing, and food. FELIX MORKA DRAGS PARTY, INEC, ALIKA TO COURT
And as a response to the communication, the Commission in October 2001, gave a well-considered ruling the Federal Republic of Nigeria in violations of 2, 4, 14, 16, 18(1), 21 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), and therefore recommended a total clean up of the polluted Ogoni and other adjourning communities in addition to taking preventive remedial and compensatory measures to improve economic and social outcomes for the Ogoni community.
Also, the Erovie community in Ozoro, Isoko North Local Government of Delta State, will forever remember, and be grateful to Morka and his team for their unalloyed support/intervention in the ordeal they suffered in the hands of Shell Petroleum Development Company in a case between Hon. Odegholor Abikelegba, Federal Ministry of Environment and others.
But of all, the slum dwellers in Lagos appear to be the highest beneficiaries of Barrister Felix Morka’s effort to build a civil society where peace, justice and equity shall reign supreme. To succeed in his job of community organizing the state, Morka used his time, talent and treasure to form and register an association which he christened; The Lagos Marginalized Communities Forum (LAMCOFOR). An umbrella body that brought together over 26 blighted communities in the state thereby, creating a platform for strategic engagement between the people and the state government while bringing development-focused organizations from different parts of the world to assist these communities.
In view of this scorecard, as we felicitate with this illustrious son of Ika land, it is the view of the Editorial Board that you use the same contact/link now at the federal and international stage to attract developments to Ika Land particularly, in the areas of youth empowerment, job creation and scholarship.