THE Federal Government has once again sparked off controversy with the appointment of yet another Inspector General of Police from the North as this is considered a flagrant violation of the Federal Character provisions in the Constitution.
On Tuesday, April 6, 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari named Usman Alkali Baba, to replace Mohammed Adamu as IGP. Baba is the third IGP from that part of the country appointed by Buhari as an elected president since 2015.
The bulk of appointments into the armed forces, security agencies and critical agencies of the Federal Government has favoured Northern Muslims. Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended directs that appointments into any institution of the government must reflect the federal character of Nigeria in order to command loyalty and a sense of belonging.
The sentiment in many quarters is that government’s brazen preference of Muslim Northerners in appointments is chiefly responsible for the current general lack of faith in the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria. Well-meaning Nigerians had hoped that with the overdue retirement of former IGP Adamu, the president would seize the opportunity to bring a competent officer from the South, preferably of South East extraction, to give the security leadership of the country a semblance of balance.
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Sadly, he chose not to do so. The question has often been asked: Why is it that in spite of all these appointments of security chiefs being heavily in the North’s favour, the region is still the worst-hit in terms of insecurity? It is indeed an irony that in spite of these lopsided appointments in favour of Northerners, the killing, kidnapping for ransom, destruction of communities, displacement of innocent citizens from their homes and mass abductions of students still go on in the North. We are strongly of the view that under a balanced security architecture this growing anarchy would not have been possible.
There are clear signs that many elements in our military, police and security agencies are no longer doing their jobs as they should. Within the past six months there was unprecedented killing of police and security personnel and destruction of police stations by hoodlums and agitators. In the former peaceful South East, policemen no longer wear their uniforms to work for fear of the socalled “unknown gunmen”.
Former Head of State and Chairman of the National Peace Committee, Abdulsalami Abubakar, says over six million arms are now in circulation in Nigeria with over 80,000 killed in recent years. The president, who is the Commander-in-Chief must take urgent steps to restore the faith of Nigerians in their country. There is great wisdom in putting the Federal Character Principle in the Constitution of a multi-ethnic and religious entity like Nigeria.