Members of the House of Representatives have decried an alleged violation of the federal character principle in recruitment by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government, which they alleged was done deliberately to favour particular sections of the country.
They noted that a worrisome dimension was President Muhammadu Buhari’s silence on the matter, stressing that the trend should be reversed.
The lawmakers bared their mind on Tuesday while debating a motion on the urgency to comply with the federal character principle in all recruitment by agencies.
The motion was moved by a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, from Jigawa State, Mr. Sani Zorro, who observed that the recruitment conducted by many MDAs did not incorporate all the sections of the country equitably.
In his reaction, the Chairman, Committee on Public Accounts, Mr. Kingsley Chinda, noted that the MDAs were simply taking after Buhari’s “body language.”
He cited the appointment of heads of security agencies by the President, an issue that dominates public discourse and trends on the social media on a daily basis.
Chinda told the House that since the President’s style was to remain unresponsive, the heads of the MDAs took a cue from him.
According to him, “This case, as they say, is rotten from the head. The head has breached Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) by appointing 99 per cent of heads of the security agencies from the same section of the country.
“We have an unresponsive government. This issue has been raised by many people; it is a dominant topic on social media, but because the government is unresponsive, nothing has been done to address it.
“If I am the head of an agency, it means that I must do the same thing by employing only my people, because that is what the head of the government (Buhari) wants me to do. I will look stupid not to employ my people.”
On his part, the Chairman, Committee on Interior, Mr. Adams Jagaba, cited the recruitment conducted in 2014 by the Nigeria Immigration Service to buttress how the MDAs flouted the federal character principle.
Jagaba, whose committee probed the famous “NIS recruitment scam,” said it uncovered how some states were unduly favoured, disclosing that, “there was a particular local government in this country. We found out that 500 people were recruited from this local government alone.”
The Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, however pointed out that lopsided recruitment did not start today, stressing that, “It is something that has been happening for a very long time and I agree that we must all rise up and do something about it”.