Nigerian Navy’s ongoing recruitment exercise is unfair and in violation of the Constitution’s federal character principle

Nigerian Navy

The Nigerian Navy’s ongoing recruitment exercise is unfair and in violation of the Constitution’s federal character principle, according to the House of Representatives, which has asked the military agency to halt the process.

This came after a report revealed that the Navy’s supplementary list of successful candidates, which was recently released, only included northerners.

The newspaper obtained a list of candidates from the core northern states, with only a few from North Central (Kogi and Niger states).
“Normally, after recruitment, they release a list, and those on that list are sent to training; the list is divided into two batches, A and B.

“They recently released a supplementary list. All 44 candidates on that list will be from the North, which has never happened before. They are primarily from the core North, not just the north.

“Normally, every state is given an equal number of slots on the recruitment list, but I’m not sure why this isn’t the case here. Batch A of the supplementary list has resumed, while Batch B will resume in January. These are the select few who will join those who have already arrived. Every zone and state should be included as far as it is supplementary.

“In the previous ones, they included all states in equal numbers except the Federal Capital Territory (FCT); the FCT is the only one that usually gets fewer slots because the majority of those who apply through the FCT are not from there.”

“My question is why is only the North represented on this supplementary list? It should represent the entire country, not just a specific region,” says the author.
The lower chamber unanimously adopted a motion of urgent public importance on Wednesday, calling for an investigation into the Nigerian Navy Supplementary Recruitment of 44 candidates “for being contrary to the principle of federal character and in gross violation of Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution.”

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The Navy was also asked by the House to provide details on all recruitments from 2014 to date, as well as their geographic distribution.

It also ordered 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,” according to the bill.

All of the successful candidates who are to report for training in two batches at the Nigerian Navy Basic Training School Onne, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, according to the motion’s sponsor, Ben Igbakpa, “are all from a particular part of the country,” negating the federal character principle of all-inclusiveness, equity, and fair play.

“The House is concerned that the principle appears to have been observed more in breach in practice,” Igbakpa said. Appointments and recruitment into various ministries, departments, and agencies at the federal and state levels appear to be treated as a matter of political discretion by successive administrations, and those with appointment and recruitment powers do not feel a legal obligation to ensure an equitable distribution of appointments and recruitment into the various government bodies.

“The House is also concerned that since the publication of the Supplementary list of 44 candidates, there has been a lot of tension, apprehension, and discussion among the young and old from the deprived section.

“The House believes that proper observance and application of the federal character principle will, in no small part, allay ethnic minorities’ fears of dominance and denial, and will invariably foster national unity.”

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