Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State says the state is one of the highest contributors to the Federation Account through revenues from its oil and gas resources, and yet has about 1000 of its citizens in the entire federal civil service.
Apparently not comfortable with what is being regarded as the marginalization of Bayelsa in federal civil service, Governor Diri is faulting the recruitment procedure into the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), and other federal government agencies and declares that it negates the federal character principle.
Diri lamented that recruitment into federal agencies that is based on the number of local government areas in a state was unjustifiable and lacked merit.
He stated this at a town hall meeting organised by the state government in collaboration with the Police Service Commission in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The governor insisted that equitable recruitment can only be achieved if the process was in tandem with the federal character principle as enshrined in Nigeria’s Constitution.
Demanding for a review of the anomaly, Diri insisted that no state was superior to another irrespective of size and population. “I have one concern and that is on recruitments done in this country based on local governments.
“As you can see, Bayelsa has only eight local governments. So how do you justify equitable recruitment based on federal character principle as provided in our Constitution when you recruit from 40 local government areas in a state like Kano and here you are recruiting from only eight local government areas?
“There is no justice and equity in that. As a representative of the Police Service Commission chairman, please take this back to your commission that the recruitment process in our country is not justifiable, is not fair and there is no equity in it.
“It is only at a forum like this we can tell ourselves the truth. As a federation, every state government, no matter how small, should be considered by virtue of the federal character principle in our Constitution.”
Diri restated his position on state police, saying that the federal police is now over-burdened by the country’s growing population.
He also called on Nigerians to disabuse their minds from the notion that state police would be hijacked by governors and pointed out that the underlying issue is more on the protection of lives and property.
Diri described the town hall meeting as very apt and productive, and called on participants to see it as the best way forward in the security of the state and the country.
Speaking earlier, the commissioner representing the South-South zone in the Police Service Commission, Austin Braimoh, explained that the town hall meeting was meant to improve on the relationship between the force and the public.
Braimoh stated that the commission was building a new police force for the country and urged qualified youths to take advantage of the recruitment exercise and contribute their quota to nation building.
In a response to concerns raised by the governor, Braimoh noted that though the commission has given each local government area in the country 10 slots each for the recruitment process, the issue of inequality would be addressed in the recommendation to the commission’s hierarchy.
Earlierthe Police Commissioner in the state, Ben Okolo, said the essence of the meeting was to underscore the importance of the police to the citizens and as well encourage the younger generation to be recruited into the force to fight crime.