By Peter Uzoho
The Campaign for Equity, a group of patriotic Nigerians concerned with the enthronement of equity in the national scheme of things, has condemned the composition of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Police Trust Fund (PTF) recently announced by President Muhammadu Buhari, describing it as a mark of inequity and not in the national interest.
The concerned patriots expressed disappointment in the composition, saying the selection of the principal officers and majority of the members of the board from the North was sectional, parochial and lopsided, and that it failed to meet the requirements of the federal character as enshrined in the constitution.
The group in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Mr. Oliver Akosa, however, called on the president to withhold the inauguration of the board and reconstitute it to reflect regional and geopolitical balance.
It said: “While we applaud the President Buhari for taking steps to ensure that the Nigeria police force is well funded, well equipped and highly professional in line with international best practices, we note with disappointment that the composition of the BoT of the Fund is sectional, parochial and lopsided, and does not therefore meet the basic requirements of the federal character as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 ( as amended).
“A cursory illustration will suffice. Suleiman Abbah, chairman of the board, is from Jigawa State in North-west Nigeria, while the Executive Secretary, Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, hails from Sokoto State in the same region. It is clearly odd and obscene for a national agency which is supposed to reflect the country’s geopolitics to have its chairman and secretary coming from one zone of the country.”
The Campaign for Equity also described as more embarrassing, the appointment of two other members of the eight-man arrangement from the same North-west region, pointing out that Mansur Ahmed, the member representing Organised Labour and Usman Bilkisu, the member representing Ministry of Justice, came from Kano and Kebbi States respectively.
It added that even the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, who is also a member of the PTF board, is from Sokoto State in the same North-west.
According to the group, the development has shown that the entire police apparatchik of the country is in the hands of the North-west region, and that such arrangement falls short of both regional and federal balance.
“We believe that these salient facts may have escaped those who constituted the BoT of the PTF. Consequently, we call on President Buhari to reconstitute the board of the PTF. In doing so, he should be conscious of regional or geopolitical balance.
“For a country that is working hard to get a police force that works, we need the contributions of critical stakeholders to achieve that objective. We need to broaden the civic space to accommodate various shades of opinion.
“The present parochial arrangement which concentrates everything about the Nigeria Police on one zone of the country is retrogressive and inhibiting. Nepotism or cronyism which the present arrangement promotes should be shunned and jettisoned. President Buhari should, therefore, not inaugurate the board of the PTF in its present order,” it stated.