BY SEGUN ADEBAYO, ABUJA – Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has said that in the last five years, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has planted animosity between different Ethnic nationalities than even the civil war created.
This is as it condemned in strong terms what it described as “skewed promotions in the Nigerian Customs Service” adding that all key appointments and juicy positions are reserved for only Northern Muslims since the inception of President Muhammadu Buahri’s Administration.
HURIWA blamed the unequal redistribution of national wealth for the worsening state of insecurity in the Northern region of the country.
In a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and Director, National Media Affairs, Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said that in a plural and sharply divided societies all over the World, is the attempt to manage their diversities and divisive tendencies through one or more combinations of policy alternatives in the organization and management of their public services for performance; adding that Nigeria is not an exception.
It noted that as experts have rightly noted, the policy alternatives turn out to be delicate arrangements; but when carefully conceived, crafted and practiced, it provides opportunity for centre-seeking and centre-fleeing forces to interact peacefully and co-habit on agreed terms.
HURIWA said that one of such policy alternatives adopted for the management of the public service in Nigeria for even representation is the federal character principle, which “was borne out of the need to ensure even spread of government appointments in all the regions, states and local government councils in the country.
The Human rights organisation noted that Nigeria as a federal society comprising 36 states structure with a population of more than 200 million people and has more than 450 ethnic groups with three clearly dominant and populous ethnicities of Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa necessitates an arrangement that could accommodate people from the different segments of the country in the public bureaucracy.
It also said that the notion of federal character therefore presupposes the existence of a federal society, adding that as a federal state, Nigeria was faced with the challenge of how to imbibe the principle of federalism in practice.
According to HURIWA; “As a result, the quota system was introduced into the Nigerian public service in 1958 by the government “to ensure equitable representation of the various groups in the country.
HURIWA said that in a continued flagrant disregard to the federal character provisions, the current administration of President Buhari has seen deep seated Northern Muslims domination of all strategic federal appointments including the appointment of two Acting Deputy Comptrollers-General and five Acting Assistant Comptrollers-General of Customs, all from the North, into management position of the Service by the Comptroller General of Customs Col. Hamid Alli (Rtd).
It noted that apart from the latest appointees of the Nigeria Customs, it could best be designated as Northern Custom Services, adding that since Buhari came into power, agencies such as in the Sea Ports, Air Ports, Immigration, Police, DSS, NNPC, FIRS, are all dominated by Northerners.
The Human Rights body therefore called for balance and immediate reorganization of all the affected departments if stability and national security is to be restored.
HURIWA said; “It is regrettable that even within the core Moslem North which enjoys the topmost juicy federal appointments made so far since the last five years of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, there is a widening rift between the few elite who have cornered all the juicy positions on the offer but are controlling over 90 percent of the national wealth and the mass of poor street children and discontented but restive youths, who out of frustration of being left behind in the apparent bazaar and sharing of national wealth by a few of their educated elites, have launched large scale social upheavals/violent skirmishes in the forms of armed banditry and outright unleashing of blood cuddling violence on soft targets in the North leading to destruction of many towns and communities and the massive migration from Nigeria to Niger Republic in search of security by millions of ordinary Northerners”.