There is indignation following lopsided recruitment process being applied by the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the police hierarchy for the ongoing recruitment of 6,000 Constables in the country, the independent.ng is reporting.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently approved the recruitment of 6,000 additional policemen as part of fresh measures to address the nation’s security challenges.
This is coming after the recruitment of 10,000 officers and men, who included specialists, to address the shortfall in the numerical strength of the force and equip it to combat crime in the country.
According to police sources, the recent recruitment exercise is being done on local government area basis as against the known system of recruiting on state basis which gives balance of representation.
Last year, 10,000 policemen of the rank of Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASPs), Inspectors and Constables were recruited with same “questionable process”, the sources said.
They said in the present recruitment process states with more local government areas will have more personnel in the force now than those with fewer local government areas even if those with fewer local government areas have more population.
A dependable source at Force Headquarters, Louis Edet House, said last year when 10,000 policemen were recruited, 10 Constables were recruited from each local government area in the country.
“That recruitment saw Lagos having 200 Constables because it has 20 local government areas. Ekiti State with sixteen local government areas got 160 Constables; Enugu got 170 Constables. Kano got 440 Constables, Oyo, 330; Bayelsa, 80; Jigawa, 270; Kaduna, 230, and Borno, 270”, he said.
The source, who condemned the process and tagged it “new system”, also said the present recruitment of 6000 Constables will follow the same process.
He said each local government area will contribute seven Constables as against what obtained where states contribute equal number of personnel into the force.
This process, according to analysts, will shortchange states with fewer local government areas, even when their population is higher than those with more local government areas.
Lawyers have condemned the action of the police authorities who reportedly are basing current recruitment into the police not on the parameter of states but local government areas.
This, according to them, is because it will favour the recruitment of people from states and geopolitical zones that have more local government areas at the expense of those that have fewer number of LGAs.
According to Malachy Ugummadu, President of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), “I listened to a police DIG on television, saying that the parameter for recruitment is strictly merit.
“But how do we know he is speaking the truth or just speaking for the cameras?
“If the basis of recruitment is truly the LGAs, that of course would belie the DIG’s claim that merit is the key criterion for recruitment.
“So the same problem of a skewed federation, which has continued to befuddle Nigeria, will affect the recruitment process.
“We cannot allow this sort of thing to happen. It is totally unconscionable.”
He added, “I learnt that the president gave directive for the recruitment of about 6,000 Nigerians into the police in view of the security challenges currently plaguing the country.
“However, we also learnt that about 100, 000 applications were received by the police authorities.
“This means that only about seven percent of the applicants will be eventually recruited.
“But if it is true that the parameter for recruitment will be local government areas and not the states, then it will foreclose the opportunity of recruitment for most people who ordinarily could have been recruited if recruitment was according to states.
“So the states that have more local government areas or the geopolitical zones that have more LGAs will have more of their people recruited than those with fewer LGAs.”
Speaking in a similar vein, Leon Mbakwe, President, Lawyers against Corruption and member, Network on Police Reform, observed: “If this is really true, then I can only say we are no longer under the administration of rule of law but the rule of man.
“It goes to show that our institutions are broken down, they’ve become aberrational, and we have given up on constitutional government.
“Kano State alone has 44 LGAs. This is exactly the number of LGAs in Imo and Abia states combined.
“That means Kano State alone will have twice as much recruits as Imo State.
“Generally, the northern states have more local government councils, according to the 1999 constitution.
“Do you see how the constitution created and is promoting a lopsided federation? And now the current administration is using the constitution to perpetuate a fraud; it is taking advantage of this very fact to create a national police that is anything but national in its outlook.
“I dare to state that if the current administration carries on this way, then certainly it is the least patriotic.
“We are living in a country where the IGP can decline the invitation of the National Assembly and nothing happens.
“We’re living in a country where impunity and lawlessness are the order of the day or the norm of governance.
“Some people seem to believe this is our time and so everything must come to us alone. It is indeed a civilian dictatorship. This is no more a democracy.”
Yinka Odumakin, National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, said the development is a proof that the statement by President Muhammadu Buhari that he belongs to everybody and not anybody is a ruse.
Odumakin, who described the Buhari administration as sectional and parochial, said the government is only concerned about protecting the interest of a section of the country.
“It is a continuation of the lopsidedness and imbalance in the system. By basing it on local government areas, what it means now is when Bayelsa gets eight recruits, Kano will have 44. Can you imagine that? A leopard cannot change its spot.
“This government has shown clearly that the whole idea of I belong to everybody, I don’t belong to anybody is a ruse.
“It is a sectional government that is so parochial and that believes in protecting the interest of a section of the country”, he said.
Monday Ubani, Second Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), also condemned the development, saying the recruitment exercise is a flawed exercise with a very ill-motive.
Ubani, who wondered why the Buhari administration should base the recruitment exercise on local government areas when the tradition has always been states, said something is fundamentally wrong about the government.
“It is a flawed exercise with a very ill-motive. We have been doing everything by states, why now local government areas? If it is true, then something is fundamentally wrong somewhere about this government”, he said.