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Ohanaeze, Afenifere, ACF disagree over civilian JTF’s recruitment into Army

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  • ACF backs action, says Nigeria in war situation
  • FG sectionalising Army – Afenifere
  • It’s a big shame, recruitment violates federal character principle, says Ohanaeze
  • Recruiting only Borno CJTF contradicts principle of federalism – M’Belt Forum

The recruitment of 400 members of the Civilian Joint Task Force in Borno State into the Nigerian Army has pitted prominent socio-cultural groups representing different regions of the country against one another on the proprietary or otherwise of the move.

While the Arewa Consultative Forum is fully in support of the decision, groups such as Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere, the Middle Belt Forum and the Pan Niger Delta Forum are against it on the premise that only persons from a particular area of the country are recruited into the Army.

The Nigerian Army had on Wednesday absorbed 400 members of the civilian JTF into its fold to assist in prosecuting the war against Boko Haram terrorists.

The men, among who are hunters, are being enlisted into the Nigerian Army’s supper camp strategy in Borno State, the worst hit by the insurgency.

Governor Babagana Zulum, who commissioned the 400 men in the presence of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, said they formed the first batch to be recruited by the Army.

According to him, other CJTF members will be joining the Army soon.

The CJTF emerged in 2013 to support the security forces in the fight against Boko Haram and to protect local communities from attacks by insurgents and was formalised by the Borno State Government through a collaboration with the military.

The CJTF members were recruited, trained, kitted, deployed and paid monthly allowances to motivate them.

FG sectionalising Army, says Afenifere

Reacting to the news, the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, through its National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, accused the Federal Government of regionalising the Army.

He said, “There is no other name to call this than regionalisation of the Army for a section of the country without necessarily saying so. The rest of the country is not daft about what is going on. There is no way you can build confidence in national institutions when you continue to paint them in sectional colours. And these are the same people, who said the South-West could not do Amotekun a few months ago.

Borno is afflicted with crisis the way other sections are and we cannot turn our supposed national Army into the outfit of a section of it in addition to the sectionalism and parochialism of this regime in the last five years.”

Move breaches federal character principle — Ohanaeze Ndigbo, M’Belt Forum

Similarly, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, insisted that the commissioning of the 400 civilian JTF members in Borno State into the Nigerian Army violated the federal character principle in national appointments.

It said the action of the Army leadership showed that the security apparatus of the country had collapsed.

The President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who spoke through his Media Adviser, Chief Emeka Attamah, condemned the action of the Army, saying it had negative implications.

He stated, “It is a clear vindication of those, who hold the view that a situation where civilians are now conscripted into the Army to fight Boko Haram is a big shame to Nigeria.

It runs against the spirit of the federal character principle, which ensures equity in national employment. Can this be replicated in other parts of the country?

“Who has guaranteed the integrity of the people absorbed into the Army? Who is sure they are not even sympathetic to the Boko Haram cause?”

Similarly, the Middle Belt Forum faulted the recruitment of the civilian JTF members into the Army.

The National President of the forum, Dr Bitrus Porgu, who spoke with one of our correspondents in Jos on Thursday, said the action of the Nigerian Army negated the principle federalism being practiced by Nigeria Porgu said, “We are not objecting to the absorption of the CJTF members into the military for assisting them in the fight against insurgency.

However, there should be equity in everything we do as a country, because we are a federation and are not supposed to do things haphazardly. So, if the Nigerian Army wants to recruit CJTF members into its fold, it should also bring in similar outfits in other parts of the country, so that there will be equity in representation in the Army.

“This is important because we have them all over the country, who are also sacrificing their lives to help in securing the country and working hard on their own volition without receiving salaries. Why single out an outfit in a region for recruitment.

In order to strengthen Nigeria’s security apparatus, Porgu maintained that the absorption of the vigilantes should not be restricted to only the Nigerian Army, but should be extended to the police and other para-military . He insisted that the establishment of state police remained the best option to solving the country’s security challenges

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