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Why Southerners shunned ongoing Police recruitment — HURIWA

Access Bank
A civil rights group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), says the North-South dichotomy that has dominated the Nigeria Police Force accounts for why Southern youths have shunned the ongoing Police recruitment of Constables into the Force.

Reacting to the recent call by the Police urging the South to encourage their youths to enroll in the ongoing Police recruitment because applications received form the area was rather very low, HURIWA said the federal government should embark on comprehensive Police reforms, including creation of State Police to make the force attractive for Southern youths.

Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, had in a statement last Wednesday, said the Nigeria Police extended the online registration in the ongoing 2021 Police Constable recruitment to Saturday, January 22, 2022, to allow Southerners to apply.

According to Mba, the extension became necessary “to ensure equal opportunity and even spread of applications, particularly from states in the South-East, South-South geopolitical zones and Lagos State,” to meet up with the required quota for their respective states.

Mba added that a breakdown of the applications received so far showed that out of the 81,005 applications received nationwide as of January 7, 2022, only 1,404 applications (less than 2% of the total applications) were received from the five states in the South East, while only 261 were from Lagos State. Anambra brought the rear with just 158 applicants.

Consequently, the Force appealed to states, local governments, religious bodies and other interest groups in the South-South, South-East and Lagos State to mobilize and encourage their citizens and wards to seek a career path in the Nigeria Police Force.

But HURIWA described the measures adopted by the hierarchy of the Police to attract Southerners into the Force as “artificial and cosmetic,” insisting that rebuilding the Nigeria Police Force “is of imperative need.”

The rights group asserted that unless the Police, as is currently constituted, was unbundled and professionalized to legally enforce federal character principles in its top hierarchy rather than the skewed status which favours the Moslem North, youngsters from some Southern region of Nigeria would not want to be enlisted into the current Nigeria Police Force.

It also advised the hierarchy of the Nigeria Police Force to embark on a thorough in-house cleansing to weed out the bad eggs amongst the Force that were usually posted to Southern States to set up “Cash extortion rackets as checkpoints” and to “weed out evil forces within the Police serving in some Southern States such as the South East of Nigeria who use extra legal executions of suspects as modus operandi.”

According to the group, so long as these professional misconduct and criminality are tolerated at the highest levels of the present day Nigeria Police Force, there won’t be lot of useful youths in the South who will be willing and available for enlistment into the Force.

“We think the current President has unleashed significant verbal harm and made toxic opinion which dangerously imperils the institutional image of the Nigeria Police force by making public comments rejecting State Police which goes to show that Northern-Moslem section of Nigeria was comfortable with the skewed leadership structure of the Nigeria Police Which favours the North.

“We think that President Buhari’s opposition to any sort of Police reforms is one of the fundamental factors which have made a lot of Southerners not to come forward for enlistment into the Police Force since the status quo means that only Police operatives from the Moslem North will get to the peak of their career whereas Southern Christians are alienated and frustrated out in their prime.

“All that an observer needs to do to know that the present day National Police is Northernised is to listen to public conversations of top or middle ranking Police officers. The language of public conversations amongst Nigeria Police is Hausa. How can you assure non- Hausa speakers that what we have is Nigeria Police and not Northern Police?” HURIWA queried.

HURIWA also called for “the reformation of the near-moribund and hijacked Police Service Commission to ensure that they discharge their mandates optimally and desists from the current modus operandi of incessantly indulging in skewed promotions of Police personnel which substantially graphically signposts to most Southerners that the Police is not Nigeria but a Northern Police Force or better still an Hausa/Fulani Police.”

The group, therefore, advised the Inspector-General of Police to make commitments to Nigerianise the Nigeria Police Force “so that competent and qualified Southerners who have the passion for law enforcement career can be free to enlist into the Nigeria Police,” but pointed out that the lasting solution to Nigeria’s Policing nightmares “is the setting up of functional State Police to operate side by side with a very lean National police as the Americans have with Federal Bureau of Investigation and the various State policing institutions such as the New York Police.”

HURIWA also urged the National Assembly to rapidly amend relevant sections of the extant constitution to make room for comprehensive Police reforms, including the creation of State Police.”

News Express

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