The appeal by Ohanaeze followed the concern raised last week by the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Solomon Arase, that the South-East region, especially Anambra, Ebonyi, Abia, and Imo states, have the lowest turnouts in the ongoing police recruitment.
The PSC noted that as of last Wednesday, Anambra State had only 541 applicants, being the lowest, while Kaduna State was in the lead with 20,259 applicants. Following Kaduna State at the top were Adamawa State with 18,933 applications, Borno State with 18,305, Bauchi State, with 16,554, Katsina State, with 16,232, and Kano State, with 15,888.
Like Anambra, the other South-East states did not do much better as Ebonyi had 737 applicants; Abia, 966; Imo, 999 and Enugu, 1,036.
Reacting to the lack of interest shown in the exercise by the Igbo, the spokesperson for Ohanaeze, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, urged the youths from the region to apply for police jobs.
Ogbonnia said, “Our people are advised to key into the police recruitment because at this time around you can’t begin to talk about marginalisation when they are calling for it and our people are not showing interest. Regardless of the rank being recruited, our boys roaming around should go and join the police.”
But the Indigenous People of Biafra blamed the lack of interest of youths from the South-East in the police recruitment on alleged marginalisation.
IPOB spokesman, Emma Powerful, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said, “The police authorities should stop playing to the gallery and public sentiments. They always lie to the public on issues concerning the South-East. They already know that the reason for the low enrolment of our people in the police force is due to their deliberate marginalisation of our people who apply.
“Every year the Nigeria Police announces their recruitment, they will deliberately pick a few people from the South-East while picking large numbers from the North.
“For instance, if there are about 500 vacancies to fill in the force, they will pick 400 from the North, 80 from the South-West and 20 from the South-East. This will only discourage the youths from further applying.”
However, the PSC denied IPOB’s allegations, noting that the police authorities had never been discriminatory towards the Igbo or any other ethnic group.
The spokesperson for the PSC, Ikechukwu Ani, said, “There’s no marginalisation of Igbos in the police. The PSC and the NPF have always encouraged Igbo youths to join the Nigeria Police Force. In fact, the PSC Chairman, Solomon Arase, recently urged leaders in the South-East to encourage Igbo youths to join the police.
“And we’re happy that the state governors in the South-East are now making moves to encourage young Igbo to join the police. Since the PSC chairman’s comments, we’ve seen official circulars where state Commissioners for Information are encouraging youths in the South-East to join the police. The police do not discriminate against anyone. The Igbo are Nigerians just like every other Nigerian, hence, they’re always welcome to join the police.”