Thursday, 18 April, 2024

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Why Igbo youths shun police


Stakeholders in the South East are worried that youths of the region seem not interested in joining the ongoing recruitment of constables by the Nigeria Police Force.

Disturbing details recently released by the chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC), Solomon Arase, indicated a great deal of apathy on the part of youths from the zone in pursuing careers in the police force.

In a statement by Ikechukwu Ani, head, Press and Public Relations, PSC, Arase called on the leaders of the zone to find a way of convincing the youths to embrace the opportunity the ongoing recruitment has provided.

He noted that it will be difficult for anybody to listen to cries of marginalisation from the zone if the people chose to remain indifferent to the Federal Government’s decision to offer employment to Nigerian youths into the Police Force.

Going by the details from the Commission, Kaduna State was leading with 20,259 youths having already completed the online applications, while Adamawa State followed with 18,933 applications.

Others are Borno, 18,305; Bauchi, 16,554; Katsina, 16,232 and Kano, 15,888.

Unfortunately, South East states took the back seat in terms of number of applications: “Next to Anambra State from the rear are Ebonyi, 737; Abia, 966 and Imo 999. Bayelsa, has 1020; Enugu, 1036; Lagos, 1259; Delta, 1338 and Edo 1526.”

The ugly trend prompted Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide to appeal to leaders of the zone at all levels to appeal to their youths to apply for the police recruitment.

 President General of the apex Igbo organisation, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, expressed worry over the situation: “The lack of interest by the Igbo youths towards the Nigeria Police Force is disturbing because, it is only by enlisting in the Police Force that offers the unique possibility of becoming a senior police officer in the future.

 “I hereby call on the South East Governors led by Sen. Hope Uzodimma, CON; the Chairman, South East Council of Traditional Rulers led by Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu; the States President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo; the Chairman, Association of South East Town Unions led by Chief Emeka Diwe; the clergy and the various Igbo groups and social movements to use their various structures to sensitize the Igbo youths to embrace the opportunity provided by the ongoing recruitment exercise.”

Enugu State Commissioner for Information, Aka Eze Aka, commenced enlightenment campaign to the grassroots. At Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area, he appealed to the youths to embrace the opportunity: “Many of us have other things we are doing which may not be as viable as joining the Nigerian Police. I have one or two persons who will tell you the advantages of joining the Police as at today.

“When we look at it peripherally, we will see that it may not be as impressive as we may look at it, but sometimes opportunity calls in a manner that tomorrow may be better than today. The only thing is that please we want people who are qualified to be enlisted in the Police Force.”

His Ebonyi State counterpart, Jude Okpor, said that his office in liaison with the Public Relations Officer of the state command was leading the campaign with the support of the state chapter of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON).

But beyond the mobilisation campaign, Daily Sun identified some underlying reasons behind the lack of interest by South East youths in joining the general duty constable recruitment exercise.

President General of Coalition of South East Leaders (COSEYL), Goodluck Ibem, Director General of Peace and Good Governance Group (P3G) and Convener, Youth Security Summit 2023, Monday Diamond Ani, as well as Publisher, Fact Sheet Newspaper, Moses Idika, blamed the disinterest on the recent attack on police in the zone by non-state actors. In fact, youths of the zone see “the police as death sentence.”

They also lamented that many youths from the region believe that they have no future in the police force because of alleged skewed promotion in the police system.

For Diamond Ani, “The youths feel strongly that they are hated by the Police hence are being faced with unfavourable approach and treatment on the checkpoints, in the streets and on the road.  And in turn, a section of the youths hates anything about Police Force and its involvement in any form.

“The feeling of marginalization in the federal character as it concerns the police ranking and promotion.

“A situation whereby it becomes so difficult for an Igbo man to be promoted and appointed the IG of Police is sending wrong signal to the Igbo young man who may desire to join the Police. Since the inception of Nigeria Police Force system, only Mr Ogbonnaya Onovo has been appointed the IG of Police from the South East, when we have had over 30 IGs from Louis Edet to Mr Egbetokun under six geopolitical zones, one geopolitical zone has been able to pride only one IG. That is a clear case of marginalization in the Police system.”

He further said that Biafra agitation in Igboland has reached a point that the army of youths do not see themselves as Nigerians, again: “So, there is this ideology of am an Igbo man, I’m a Biafran, I don’t belong to Nigeria, so why would I join the Nigeria Police? Biafra is our land, therefore, we need our freedom. This trending cultural infusion in Igbo land is really affecting the interest of a section of our youths in joining the Nigeria Police Force and even other security agencies.”

Ani disclosed that these unfolding socio-cultural ideologies are the reasons his team is packaging the Youth Security Summit 2023 in south East to “help reorientate our teeming youths on the issues at hand because if it’s not given much attention, it will degenerate to an uncontrollable stage.”

Ibem posited that families of several police men who were killed during the EndSARS protest or by “unknown gunmen” were seemingly abandoned: “This poses a serious threat to the enrolment of our people into the force because no one wants to die before his or her time while leaving his family behind to suffer untold hardship and depravation.

 “The issue of nepotism, favouritism and corruption is another reason our people are reluctant to apply.”

 Idika described it as a very worrisome development, noting that there was also growing apathy to join the rank and file of the armed forces in the region: “We should also see this ugly situation from the point that the Southeast already feels left out in the “Nigeria project,” so majority feel that even if they apply, the powers that be has a way of scheming them out and recruiting certain “favoured” sections of the country.”

He, then, called on the Federal Government to mount a more forceful and convincing campaign of general integration of Nigeria as people with common destiny with the assurances that every Nigerian will be treated as first, a Nigerian and not seen from the prism of ethnic affiliations.

Credit: Daily Sun

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