Impostors exposed in Army recruitment exercise

Army recruitment exercise

Anger was the word, yesterday, as the Nigerian Army, NA; Lagos State Government; Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area; former Minister of Communications, Maj. Gen. Tajudeen Olanrewaju, retd; and other stakeholders reacted to a viral video of some northerners seeking recruitment into the Army as Lagos indigenes.

Among the stakeholders, who spoke, yesterday, were the Middle-Belt Forum, MBF; Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF; Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere; and Northern Elders Forum, NEF.

In the video, some recruits, who said they hailed from Kaduna State, and could not speak the Yoruba language, presented certificates showing they were from Kosofe and Oshodi-Isolo LGAs among others with which they sought recruitment into the Army.

Olanrewaju, a former General Officer Commanding, GOC, Third Armoured Division, Nigerian Army, described the video as a “big slap on the national goal of achieving peace and unity of the country.”

He urged the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State to probe the slots of Lagos indigenes in the ongoing NA recruitment.

Army recruitment must be probed— Gen Olanrewaju

Insisting that the chairman of Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area should step aside for a thorough investigation to take place, Olanrewaju said the council boss cannot “investigate himself.”

The former minister in a statement, said: “Nobody would see and listen to the video and not be repulsed about the violation of the constitutional rights of indigenes of Lagos State.

“There is an ongoing indigenes’ recruitment in Lagos State into the Nigeria Army. I believe this is procedurally wrong, constitutionally and democratically unacceptable, and it is a big slap on the national goal of achieving peace and unity in the country.

“If this video is fake, let it be. But if not, I’m requesting the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, to please use his good office to look into this matter and, if true, interrogate and stop it.

“As for the Lagos State government and responsible agencies, including Governor’s Advisory Council, GAC, of All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lagos State, they are implored to step in and stop those who dish out fake indigene identity to non-indigenous residents in Lagos State in general.

“This video has highlighted one of the various methods and ways indigenous Lagosians have been losing their slots as guaranteed in the constitution.

“Issues emanating from this video have been traced to Oshodi-Isolo Local Government, even though the media office of the local government’s executive chairman has released a press statement trying to deny it, but the issue should not be swept under the carpet.

“Our local government area and local council development area chairmen are not concerned and conscious of power of true Lagos State indegenship. Same applies to our obas, traditional chiefs and baales.

“Securing certificate, letter or any document of Lagos State indegeneship by individuals must be thoroughly scrutinised, secured and not offered on the altar of money or friendship.
“Non-indigenes should go to their states for whatever they are required to present, which may require their state of origin’s approval whenever they want to join any of the national services.

“They have their own vacancies awaiting them in their various local governments and there are 774 local governments in the federation.

“Our IBILE Indigenship application conditions are too porous and susceptible to abuses because they are not secured and are obtained under pretences of money and friendship. Very critical also is that most of the chairmen of LGAs and LCDAs are not themselves true indigenous IBILE persons. Same applies to some civil servants in the Lagos public services. These are believers that Lagos State belongs to all.

“Therefore, there is no doubt that the quota of Lagos State is usurped by the Yoruba of the South-West, Kwara and Kogi State or even those of other states that could easily buy out the Lagos State Indegeneship certificates. I am sure same has been happening in other security agencies, the Federal Civil Service Commission and other departments and Agencies. This is not a talk-shop matter anymore but walking the talk as a purposeful unit.”

Calling for a thorough investigation into the viral video, he said: “First, the chairman of the Oshodi-Isolo LGA must step aside for a thorough investigation to take place. He cannot investigate himself.

“Second, the Executive Governor/Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice are both respectfully requested to present an enabling law to the House of Assembly to be passed on the Verification System Unit that is autonomous and staffed by IBILE indigenous staff and established in the five divisions of the state.

“Its function is to liaise with the Armed Forces and link with the Governor’s Office, Alausa. They will deal with recruitment further follow up with the interview processes and monitor those shortlisted for admission into the Armed Forces. This is what most of the states in the North do now. If this approach is fine-tuned properly, the law will help reduce abuses associated with Lagos State slots allocated to it.”

Oshodi-Isolo LGA chairman, Oloyede, orders a thorough investigation

Shocked by the trending video of some non-indigenes of Oshodi wielding letters of indigeneship, the chairman of Oshodi-Isolo LGA, Otunba Kehinde Oloyede has ordered a thorough investigation into the matter, vowing that “all elements or persons behind the criminal act will be made to face the full wrath of the law.”

In a statement by his media office, Oloyede, condemned in its entirety the issuance of letters of indigenes to non-indigenes.

In the early hours of Wednesday, persons who were meant to be recruited into the Nigerian Army were caught with fake indigeneship letters emanating from some local governments in Lagos. According to the persons in the video, the certificates were obtained from an unnamed cyber cafe in Lagos state.

The council chairman fumed at such a criminal act, saying no stone will be left unturned to unravel the elements behind the issuance.

“I received the report of the unfortunate trending video, where a letter of indigeneship was purportedly issued to some non-indigenes, which has placed the local government in public glare. As the Executive Chairman, I have ordered that a thorough investigation be carried out and that all those involved be handed to security agencies for prosecution.

“Let me use this opportunity to inform our people that we shall not in anyway sweep this unfortunate matter under the carpet, as we want to unearth those behind this to serve as deterrent to others who will want to drag the noble name of our council in disrepute. We will do the needful, we will not leave any stone unturned.”

Lagos ‘ll ensure prosecution of suspects, Omotoso vows

Similarly, the Lagos State Government yesterday vowed to ensure due prosecution of suspects arrested in connection with the fraudulent indigeneship letters of the state in the ongoing recruitment of the Nigeria Army.

The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, speaking with Vanguard, in his Alausa Office, Ikeja, condemned the act, describing it as “criminal.”
His words: “The police and the military are already investigating the matter because it is a criminal case.

“I can assure you that after full investigation, the state government will ensure the suspects are duly prosecuted for necessary punishment.”

How we nabbed 3 fraudulent candidates —Nigerian Army

The Nigerian Army, in a statement by Director Army Public Relations, Major-General Onyema Nwachukwu, said it had measures for apprehending fraudulent candidates across the country, adding that the measures led to the arrest of those in the viral video.

Titled ‘’Re: Circulation of Viral Video of Apprehended Fraudulent Candidates of 86 Regular Recruits Intake in Lagos,” the statement read: “The attention of the Nigerian Army (NA) has been drawn to a circulating video on social media depicting the arrest of some fraudulent candidates of the ongoing 86 Regular Recruits Intake, who were caught attempting to short-change indigenous candidates of Lagos State through dubious means.

“The NA wishes to state that the arrest of the fraudulent candidates was a result of the commitment of the NA in upholding a transparent and credible recruitment process in line with its core values of integrity and fairness.

‘’The video is a pointer to one of the processes to which the candidates were subjected, in order to ensure only true indigenes of a particular state are recruited, using the slots of that state and not non-indigenes.

“The video in itself therefore, clearly shows that the process is transparent, as the state representative, who is a prominent member of the recruitment team has been part and parcel of the process and was given unhindered access to do her job by scrutinizing the candidates’ state of origin, to ascertain the genuineness of their indigeneship claims.

‘’The state representative must identify non-indigenes among candidates applying for recruitment and this is applicable in other states of the federation.

“We wish to inform the general public that the fraudulent act perpetrated by the three candidates who attempted to secure vacancies designated for candidates with Lagos State indigeneship is a serious breach of our recruitment process and will not be condoned.

“We want to assure the public that a thorough investigation will be conducted to ascertain the extent of these fraudulent activities and to identify any individual(s) or unscrupulous syndicate(s) involved. We are dedicated to ensuring that only the most qualified and deserving candidates are selected to serve in the NA.

“The NA will continue to work closely with relevant authorities to ensure that those responsible for this misconduct are held accountable. The culprits involved will be handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency. The NA is committed to upholding the rule of law and ensuring that justice is served in this matter.”

Make recruitment parameters made public — PANDEF

Speaking on the issue, PANDEF advised the Army, the Police and other security agencies in the country to always make the parameters they use for their recruitment public, in order to avoid speculations and rumour.

PANDEF National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Ken Robinson, while giving the advice, said: “Actually we have not verified whether the allegation is true but what we are saying is that the Military and other security agencies in the country should be transparent in their recruitment exercise.

“We have always said that in the quota system, and of course that requirements for recruitment should be uniform, that no state should be discriminated against, no state should be shortchanged.

“The parameters used should be made public so that the people will know what determines the number of people to be recruited from each state. Is it population? Is it the number of local government areas? Is it uniform for each LGA? There should be greater transparency in the recruitment process. The requirements and determinants should be made public so that these speculations and rumours will not arise.”

The PANDEF spokesperson also reiterated that all security agencies in the country need to be careful in their recruitment exercise so that they don’t recruit questionable characters into the military and para-military agencies.

“They should carry out proper profiling of those they are recruiting. The other day I spoke to you about supposedly repentant Boko Haram members being recruited into the Army. I think the Army needs to carry out a lot of interrogation of processes of its recruitment.

MBF fingers quota system

To the MBF, the Nigerian system creates the leeway for unscrupulous persons to trade off job slots and engage in employment racketeering to the detriment of others.

MBF National President of MBF, Dr. Bitrus Pogu noted that the unhealthy development is a self-inflicted systemic problem.

His words: “This problem was brought about by what we call ‘quota system.’ It is a problem that we created for ourselves.

“While we allowed free flow and lots of things to go unattended to; in some areas because of interest, quota system is strictly introduced. And because of that, somebody who is qualified by quota system will not allow the person to gain employment. And there are still spaces left out there.

“So, naturally people who cannot fill their quota because they do not have people who are qualified, do sell or trade their slots to other Nigerians who even after filling their quota still have so many qualified people who could be employed.

“So it is a Nigerian problem. While we say okay let us look for competence, in some areas because competent people are not readily available we still introduce a quota system. And the quota system either lowers the standard for those who do not have the standard to be employed or they sell their quota to others who are ready to pay.

“It is no doubt a systemic problem because we have lots of problems in the country that we have not been able to address.”

“Rather than saying gentlemen this is a professional job we do not have place for mediocres, let’s have competent hands to handle it; in other areas we can do the quota thing. Nigerians refused and in the end he who has the money pays for it.

Averring that we have to rejig our system to address these wrongs as early as possible because the whole country pays for it, he said, “if somebody is employed just because he has to fill a quota and he is not competent, we have a problem on our hands.

“So that is the issue and we have to pray that we have a bold President in place who will say gentle men there are jobs that require expertise, that require competence for such jobs we cannot sacrifice competence on a platter of quota system.

“So if you look at it who do you blame? Is it the people who are selling or the system which is full of imbalances and creates opportunities for people to sell the quota of others. Now it is up to Nigerians to answer the question.”

Afenifere blames faulty federalism

The National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mogaji Gboyega Adejumo attributed the problem to faulty federalism

He said: “Af¹nif¹re regrets the present state of affairs wherein the failures of certain parts of the country have become the burden of the peoples who occupy the once thriving Western Nigeria.

“Those that have destroyed the North due to their policy deficits and the clear lack of resolve, capacity and direction to provide service to their people, preferring to rather be of service to themselves, have also destroyed the promise of a Nigeria that is home to everyone along with it.

“A critical look at the old North today will reveal the stark realities of the three zones of the North-West, North-East and the Middle-Belt as nothing but a theatre of war, a clear and present crime scene.

“ The people of these zones flung and scattered in various Internally Displaced People {IDP} Centers. Even the ones in the major cities in the North have been reduced to mere “Urban Refugees”….

“We now have elements and entities of northern origin parading themselves as South-westerners, in order to gain admission into the military, a dangerous, unimaginable development that shortchanges the indigenous peoples of the South-West in their own right and quest to aspire and in their legitimate right to be admitted into the Armed forces.

“Af¹nif¹re, therefore, condemns this unsavoury development and views it as yet another example of the acts of those who see themselves as privileged to do as they please.

“Another unpalatable posturing of those who see themselves as entitled, as a special class of those not only born to rule but also to seek to conquer every land and to even assume albeit illegitimately, the destinies of other people.

“Af¹nif¹re, therefore calls on President Tinubu to immediately take the steps to return Nigeria back to the original reset mode as laid down by the founding fathers by rigorously and vigorously pursuing the process of Restructuring the Nigerian polity, both physically and fiscally. It is only through this process that peace and unity plus security can return to Nigeria.”

It’s a wider agenda to emasculate the North—NEF

However, the NEF disagreed, saying that the development was part of an agenda to emasculate the North.

NEF Spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said: “We don’t want to look at it as fraud the way the media and the military authorities would want to put it. We would rather look at it as part a wider agenda to emasculate the North by humiliating Northerners where they live as minorities among other communities in particularly Southern Nigeria.

“Even though it is in our culture to welcome and live with outsiders, we must never be tired of reminding other Nigerians that the laws of the land demand that every Nigerian lives and earns his legitimate living in any part of Nigeria without discrimination or molestation.
“We wonder how the Presidency and the National Assembly would react, were other sections of the North to seek equally segregated treatment against all the southern indigenes occupying northern slots in other sectors of endeavour.

“The consciousness is eroding that for decades, different tribes in Nigeria have been accommodated and tolerated in other parts of the country without their hosts enacting discriminatory laws specifically to intimidate, harass and endanger them, their families, their properties or their trades.

In their characteristic spirit of tolerance that is yet to be accordingly reciprocated, no attempt has ever been made by these affected sections of the North to discriminate or label any people beyond seeking solutions through legitimate and civil interventions. This is notwithstanding glaring evidences of the notoriety of these settlers in the perpetration, commission, spread and promotion of various crimes and anti-social behaviours within the communities that host them.

“There is hard evidence that shows how some of these people who are comfortably accommodated by the North take undue advantage of the region’s tolerant culture to pursue illicit trades that introduced and promoted the mass supply and spread of hard drugs, fake drugs and other harmful substances that are threatening the lives of people in the North and crippling the potential of the younger generation.

It is not certain if there is an agenda behind the increase in drug addiction and substance abuse in the North today. But the fact that this phenomenon has of recent been driven by outside forces and players particularly Southern traders and “pharmacists” is a matter that requires closer scrutiny.

“All over the North, it is found that these traders are the main sources of the substances and drugs that are being brought into the region and abused by the Northern youth and that the proliferation of the trade provides proof of its profitability to these people. Allegations are made for instance about the linkages between the arms trade and drug trade in the North, both of which are intended to cause the disintegration of the region and bringing about its weakening from within.

“Targeting of Northern youth therefore has several implications for the region. First, its future leaders and citizens are incapacitated and disoriented and reduced to a state of hopelessness and stupor thereby rendering them completely useless in developing the region.

Second, its pool of trained personnel is drained and no future replacement can be developed thereby rendering the region wholly dependent on outsiders for every type of services and expertise. Thirdly, to deprive the North of future prospects of developing its own resources to become rich, viable and able to compete with the South, by destroying its manpower and rendering Northerners mere parasites in the country.

Fourth, to create a situation where Northerners will not be able to resist the takeover and occupation of their land through the degrading of the mental outlook of their young and impressionable population so that they cannot offer any resistance to such a prospect.

“The recent irresponsible and arrogant treatment of Northern candidates for recruitment into the Nigerian Army represents part of a wider agenda to humiliate Northerners living as minorities in Southern Nigeria.

“No matter through which lenses we look, therefore, we only see in this fast-phased agenda a manifestation of a system that tends to deploy a warped application of the law solely for the protection of a certain category of citizens and endanger others. This manifestation of gross inequity is also one that portends the danger of even more grave conflicts.

“The mass movement of millions of Southern Nigerians into the vast interior of the North and the permanent nature of this movement should therefore be given serious thought and consideration by the Northern leadership before it becomes too late to do anything about it.”

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