Mike Ozekhome flays alleged lopsided appointments in interior ministry
• Buhari is using his prerogative of powers, says FCC
Constitutional Lawyer and human rights activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome, says the alleged unevenness of appointments at the Ministry of Interior and its agencies is unconstitutional and reflective of the “insensitivity of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration where virtually all key positions are occupied by northern Muslims.”
He gave a breakdown of the appointments where all the top jobs went to northern Muslims.
The senior lawyer decried the composition of the Civil Defence, Fire, Immigration and Prisons Service Board (CDFIPB) where the Minister, Abdulrahman Dambazau, a Muslim from Zaria in Kaduna State doubles as chairman.
He went further to name more ‘anomalies’ to include Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mohammed Babandede, a Muslim from Jigawa, Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Abdullahi Gana Muhammadu from Niger and Controller General of Nigerian Prisons Service, Ahmed Ja’afaru, an indigene of Kebbi State.
He added that a new one was in the wing, alluding to Acting Permanent Secretary, Muhammadu Maccido, a bureaucrat from Sokoto State, whose appointment had been confirmed.
Ozekhome said but for the Controller General of Federal Fire Service (FFS), Anebi Joseph Garba, a Christian from Benue State, appointed during the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, the entire cycle would have been 100 per cent northern Muslims.
“It is all so glaring. The Nigerian constitution provides that all appointments shall reflect federal character and must take into consideration the ethnic diversity of
Nigeria which has about 369 ethnic groups that speak about 350 languages. It becomes unconscionable and insensate to approximate and concentrate all appointments in the hands of one ethnic and religious group.
“Virtually the entire security apparatchik in Nigeria, the executive, legislature and judicial branches have been cornered by this particular and religious group, without the government brooding any qualms or giving a damn about Nigerians’ sensitivity. It has never been so daring,” he added.
But, the Federal Character Commission (FCC) tacitly backed the President on the appointments.
In a telephone chat with The Guardian, the Media Assistant to the commission’s chairman, Idris Abdullahi, noted: “The FCC has always maintained that there should be equity and justice in the spread of all government appointments which must be federal character-complied. However, if it is a professional organisation like the Prisons, Immigration, or Civil Defence Corps, such appointments are a prerogative of Mr. President.”