Why southerners are not keen on police recruitment —HURIWA

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Civil rights advocacy, Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria, has said youths from the south would not want to be enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force unless it is unbundled from its current constituted state and professionalised to legally enforce federal character principles in its hierarchy.

HURIWA said this after the Force revealed that out of the 81,005 applications received nationwide in the ongoing police recruitment as of January 7, 2022, 1,404 applications – less than 2 per cent of the total applications – were received from the five states in the South-East.

The rights group, in a statement issued by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the current state of the Force is skewed to favour Muslims.

This is as the Association charged the National Assembly to rapidly rediscover its parliamentary independence, political will and will to serve Nigeria, and amend relevant sections of the extant constitution to make room for comprehensive police reforms including the creation of state police.

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HURIWA told the hierarchy of the Nigeria Police Force to embark on thoroughly in-house cleansing to weed out the bad eggs amongst the Force that are usually posted to Southern states to set up cash extortion rackets as checkpoints.

The rights group said so long as these professional misconduct and criminality are tolerated at the highest levels of the present day Nigeria Police Force, there won’t be a lot of useful youths in the South who will be willing and available for enlistment into the Nigeria Police Force.

“We think the current President has unleashed significant verbal harm and made toxic opinion which dangerously imperils the institutional image of the Nigeria Police Force by making public comments rejecting state police which goes to show that northern Muslim section of Nigeria is comfortable with the skewed leadership structure of the Nigeria Police Which favours the North.

“We think that President Buhari’s opposition to any sort of police reforms is one of the fundamental factors which have made a lot of Southerners not to come forward for enlistment into the police force since the status quo means that only police operatives from the Muslim North will get to the peak of their career whereas Southern Christians are alienated and frustrated out in their prime.

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“All that an observer needs to do to know that the present-day National Police is Northernised is to listen to public conversations of top or middle-ranking police officers. The language of public conversations amongst Nigeria Police is Hausa. How can you assure non-Hausa speakers that what we have is Nigeria Police And not Northern Police?” HURIWA asked.

HURIWA also demanded the reformation of the near-moribund and hijacked Police Service Commission to ensure that they discharge their mandates optimally and desists from the current modus operandi of incessantly indulging in skewed promotions of Police personnel which substantially graphically signposts to most Southerners that the police is not Nigeria but a Northern Police Force or better still a Hausa/Fulani Police.

“HURIWA has therefore counselled the IGP to make commitments to Nigerianise the Nigeria Police Force so that competent and qualified Southerners who have the passion for law enforcement career can be free to enlist into the Nigeria Police even as the lasting solution to Nigeria’s Policing nightmares is the setting up of functional State police to operate side by side with a very lean National police as the Americans have with Federal Bureau of Investigation and the various State policing institutions such as the New York Police,” the rights group said.

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