The Pan- Yoruba socio- political group, Afenifere, on Tuesday, kicked against the planned recruitment of 10,000 personnel into the Police Force on basis of local governments rather than federal character principle, saying that the implication would be that states with larger contributions to the country’s revenue would not be equitably represented.
Afenifere said this in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos by its national publicity secretary, Mr Yinka Odumakin, while reacting to the suspension of the recruitment exercise last September, following crisis between the Senate Committee on Police Affairs and the Police Service Commission (PSC).
“The attention of Afenifere has been drawn to the simmering crisis between the Senate Committee on Police Affairs and the PSC, which led to the suspension of the recruitment of 10,000 personnel into the Police Force in September,” Afenifere said.
“While the PSC insisted that the process should follow the constitutional provision of equality of states in line with the principle of federal character, the Senator Abu Ibrahim-led committee wanted the recruitment to be done on the basis of local governments.
“The senate committee also insisted that the Nigeria Police should supervise the exercise as against the PSC which is statutorily saddled with such responsibility.
“The suspension of the exercise was to allow the president to mediate in the dispute between the two bodies. To the consternation of all believers in constitutional rule, the senate committee recently announced that the president has ruled in its favour.”
“We reject this blatant violation of the principle of federal character and the constitutional process on the alter of political and sectional expediency,” Afenifere said.
According to Afenifere, should the local government principle be applied as basis for recruitment, Lagos with a bigger population than Kano, but with just 20 local government areas as against the latter 44 and which also generates 69 per cent of the total Value Added Tax (VAT) in the country, will have only 180 men as against 396 from Kano on the basis of 9 per local government area being recommended .
“An oil-bearing state like Bayelsa contributing substantially to the federation pool from which these officers would be paid, has only eight local government areas and will have only 72 men, Jigawa State that is not known to bring anything to the pool at the moment would have 234 men based on its 26 local government areas.”
The group, while saying that the creation of local government areas was done over the years “whimsically and capriciously by hegemonic military adventurers with no sense of justice and fairness but sectional considerations,”
“We insist that the exercise must follow the laid down regulation of the Principle of Federal Character with states as the basis. Even at that, it is not a hidden fact that a zone has seven states while one has 5!
“The larger picture this whole controversy has thrown up is that we cannot continue to ignore the resolution of our nationality question as a country if we want to live in peace, harmony and give a sense of belonging to every section of the country. The current zero-sum template has its expiry date,” the group said.