The House of Representatives has said the ongoing recruitment exercise by the Nigerian Navy is unfair and not in compliance with the federal character principle in the Constitution, asking the military agency to suspend the process.
This followed a report by SaharaReporters revealing how a supplementary list of successful candidates recently released by the Navy has only northerners in it.
The candidates on the list obtained by the newspaper were drawn from core northern states with only a few from North Central (Kogi and Niger states).
“Normally, after recruitment, they release a list and those people on that list will go for training, they divided the list into two, Batch A and B.
“They released a supplementary list recently. This has never happened before that all the names on that list will be from the North–44 candidates. They are not just from the North but mainly from the core North.
“In the normal recruitment list, every state is usually given equal number but I don’t know why this is different. This supplementary list Batch A has resumed, Batch B will resume in January. These are the few people that will join those that are already there. As far as it is supplementary, every zone and state should be included.
“The former ones they did, all states were included in equal numbers except the Federal Capital Territory (FCT); the FCT is the only one that usually gets lesser slots because most of those using FCT to apply are not from there.
“My question is, why is this supplementary list representing only the North. It should represent all parts, not just a particular region,” a source had told SaharaReporters.
— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) July 12, 2021
In a resolution on Wednesday, the lower chamber unanimously adopted a motion of urgent public importance to investigate the process of the Nigerian Navy Supplementary Recruitment of 44 candidates “for being against the principle of federal character and in gross violation of Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution.”
The House also requested the Navy to provide details of all recruitments from 2014 to date, showing their geographical spread.
Furthermore, it mandated the Committee on Navy to “investigate the exercise and recommend appropriate measures to avoid similar constitutional violations in all future government recruitment and report back within 12 weeks for further legislative action.”
Sponsor of the motion, Ben Igbakpa, said all the successful candidates that are to report for training in two batches at the Nigerian Navy Basic Training School Onne, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, “are all from a particular part of the country, which negates the federal character principle of all-inclusiveness, equity and fair play.”
Igbakpa said, “The House is worried that in practice, the principle appears to have been observed more in breach. Appointments and recruitments into the various ministries, departments, and agencies both at the federal and state levels by successive administrations seem to be treated as a matter of political discretion, and those with the appointment and recruitment powers do not feel a legal duty to ensure an equitable spread of appointments and recruitments into the various government bodies.
“The House is further worried that this recruitment Supplementary list of 44 candidates since it became public knowledge, has created a lot of tension, apprehension, and discourse among the young and old from the deprived section.
“The House believes that adequate observance and implementation of the federal character principle will in no small measure allay fears of domination and denial by the ethnic minorities and invariably foster national unity.”