The Niger Delta Congress has reproved a sectional move by President Muhammadu Buhari to impede the emergence of Moses Jitoboh, an assistant police inspector-general from Bayelsa, to the rank of inspector-general.
The NDC, in a statement issued on Tuesday morning by its spokesman Adokiye Oyagiri, berated the Buhari administration over what it described as the ‘Northernisation of Nigeria’s state institutions.’
The statement comes hours after Peoples Gazette exposed a deep-laid plot to forcibly promote Mr. Jitoboh as deputy inspector-general in order to make his enduring stay in the police untenable beyond February 1, 2021 — when all his DIG peers will retire with outgoing IG Mohammed Adamu.
The Gazette reported that although Section Seven of the Nigeria Police Act 2020 has positioned Mr. Jitoboh as the only qualified officer to become the next IG out of all the 24 AIGs currently in the Nigeria Police Force, the presidency-induced promotion scheme will truncate his emergence, while clearing a dubious path for another northerner to take over from Adamu.
The NDC, which recounted the controversial ouster of the immediate past chief justice Walter Onnogen, as well as erstwhile acting director-general of the State Security Service, Matthew Seiyefa — both from Southern Nigeria — lamented the political marginalisation being suffered by people of the Niger Delta under President Buhari.
The full statement from the Niger Delta Congress:
The Niger Delta Congress observes with trepidation what is the Northernisation of the institutions of the Nigerian federation by the President Buhari led administration.
In recent times, people of Niger Delta origin have been victims of this sinister plot to displace and replace qualified and deserving individuals from Southern Nigeria, with anyone from Northern Nigeria whether qualified or not.
The most recent move being made in this regard as has been reported by People’s Gazette in their 7th December publication titled “EXCLUSIVE: Buhari plots retirement of southern Police AIG to clear paths for another inspector-general from northern region”, is the move to prevent Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Moses Jitoboh, from Bayelsa State, from proceeding on his normal career progression which would make him the most qualified and most senior police officer in waiting to replace the current Inspector General (IG) of Police whose retirement is due by February 2021.
This plan, as revealed by Gazette, is to pave the way for a Northern officer to replace the outgoing IG of Police who is himself a Northern Muslim from Nasarawa State. The Niger Delta Congress rejects this move in clear terms.
The Niger Delta Congress notes that despite the Niger Delta contributing more to the country than all other geopolitical zones combined, the people of the region have continued to suffer political marginalization. As recently as 2019, the first Chief Justice to come from Southern Nigeria in over twenty-five years, Walter Onnogen from Cross River, was first prevented from assuming the position of CJN, and when confirmed by the Vice President in the absence of the President, was immediately hounded out of office on return of the President under the most questionable circumstances.
His replacement was a Northern Muslim, Ibrahim Tanko. The NDC also recalls the forceful retirement of the Director General of the Department for State Security (DSS), Matthew Seiyefa, from Bayelsa State who was confirmed by Vice President Osinbajo in August 2017 in the absence of President Buhari, and forcefully retired by President Buhari on his return barely one month later. His replacement was also a Northern Muslim, Yusuf Bichi, who had long been retired.
Of great worry to the Niger Delta is the obvious marginalisation of the people of the region not just within the leadership of these state institutions and organs, but the gradual elimination of our people in the junior cadre of these state institutions. Recently, People’s Gazette released an investigative report showing the skewed recruitment undertaken by the DSS which saw Northern Nigeria produce a whopping 86% of recruits compared to Southern Nigeria’s 14 percent.
The disproportionate representation of Niger Deltans in Nigeria’s security agencies is a source of concern to the region.
Lastly, the NDC wishes to state that the current disregard for the plurality of Nigeria especially as regards economic and political opportunities portends danger for the continued unity of the country if it goes on unchecked.
Bearing this in mind, the NDC would like to reiterate that the Niger Delta people remain major stakeholders of the Nigerian federation by its economic and socio-political contributions, and will reject every attempt by fellow citizens who happen to be in power to treat the region and its people as second class citizens.
Niger Delta Congress,
December 8, 2020.