- South, Middle Belt drag Buhari to court
There is rising disquiet over perennial imbalance in federal appointments made since the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari which gave more opportunities to the north in the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Elder statesmen and leaders of Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and Middle-Belt, on Tuesday berated the Director General of the State Security Service (SSS), Yusuf Bichi, over what they considered northernization of the recruitment into the SSS. They decried that of the 628 cadet trainees undergoing training in Bauchi, beginning from September 23, 2020, 535 of the new recruits into the SSS are from the upper while 93 were recruited from the south and the Middle Blet. The elder statesmen berated the SSS D.G. and President Buhari for giving the northeast and northwest greater shares of 535 while the southwest, southeast, south-south, Southwest and north-central were allocated less slots of 93 of the 628 new recruits.
Leaders of the socio-cultural groups which comprise the Afenifere, Middle-Belt, Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), and Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in a statement chided the SSS D.G. for being insensitive to the rudiments of justice and equity in the national interest.
Representatives of the socio-cultural groups in the statement on Tuesday signed by Yinka Odumakin for South West; Chief Guy Ikokwu for South East; Senator Bassey Henshaw for South-South and Dr. Isuwa Dogo for Middle Belt, cautioned against clear and potential provocations for the breakup of Nigeria due to pervasive injustice. The revealed that the elder statesmen have taken the federal government to court to challenge the serial sectionalism in federal appointments. They disclosed that proceedings on the suit will commence on Friday, October 2, 2020, at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The groups in the statement declared: “Divisive Recruitment By DSS 24 HOURS after VP Yemi Osinbajo and SGF Boss Mustapha both warned separately that cracks on the Nigerian wall could lead to its break-up, a scandalous report came out in the People’s Gazette showing how the DG of DSS has put a sharp knife to the rope holding what is left of Nigeria together through an insensitive and lopsided recruitment into the agency.
“Director-General Yusuf Bichi was said to have activated a lopsided hiring process that tends to overfill the State Security Service with personnel from the northern parts of Nigeria. Peoples Gazette reported based on official documents and contributions of senior intelligence officials.
“The Gazette’s findings obtained over a period of two weeks showed that the North has a massive share of the roughly 1,300 Nigerians currently undergoing cadet training at two different camps of the secret police in Lagos and Bauchi.
“Of the total 628 cadet trainees who had resumed at the Bauchi facility as of September 23, 535 trainees joined the service from either the Northeast or the Northwest. Only 93 were from either the Southeast, South-South, Southwest or North-Central.
“The Gazette’s findings also showed that at least 71 of those currently undergoing cadet training hail from Bichi Local Government Area, Kano State, the director-general’s home local government area. Officials said the number was more, but the Gazette could not independently confirm the higher figures — as well as a slew of other disturbing allegations of bigotry against Bichi — prior to its publication.
“The list of candidates was not compiled state by state, but officials believe a state-by-state breakdown would exist at the headquarters in Abuja. In Lagos, the Gazette was unable to obtain official attendance records of trainees at the camp in Ojo, but multiple participants, including senior officials, said Bichi disregarded the federal character concept and skewed the process for Nigerians from the North.
“A top official estimated 708 trainees were at the Lagos training facility as of September 26. Officials were unsure how many people were taken as cadet trainees in total because some were still arriving three weeks into the six-month exercise.
“Senior intelligence officials said even though the sectional disparity mirrors Nigeria’s reality under President Muhammadu Buhari, they are, nonetheless, worried that the development could potentially tip the ethnic and religious balance of national security in favour of a section of the country for decades.”