The Niger Delta Congress, NDC, has called on the President Buhari led administration on the need to strongly consider the “plurality of Nigeria with regards to economic and political opportunities for all”.
The group maintained that the Niger Delta region remained a major stakeholder of the Nigerian federation by its economic and socio-political standing.
In a statement, acting spokesman of the group, Adokiye Oyagiri maintained: “In recent times, people of Niger Delta origin have been victims of this sinister plot to displace and replace qualified and deserving individuals from Southern Nigeria, with anyone from Northern Nigeria whether qualified or not.
The most recent move being made in this regard as has been reported by People’s Gazette in their 7th December publication titled “EXCLUSIVE: Buhari plots retirement of southern Police AIG to clear paths for another inspector-general from northern region”, is the move to prevent Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Moses Jitoboh, from Bayelsa State, from proceeding on his normal career progression which would make him the most qualified and most senior police officer in waiting to replace the current Inspector General (IG) of Police whose retirement is due by February 2021. This plan, as revealed by Gazette, is to pave the way for a Northern officer to replace the outgoing IG of Police who is himself a Northern Muslim from Nasarawa State. The Niger Delta Congress rejects this move in clear terms.
The group noted that despite the Niger Delta contributing more to the country than all other geopolitical zones combined, the people of the region have continued to suffer political marginalization.
“In 2019, the first Chief Justice to come from Southern Nigeria in over twenty-five years, Walter Onnogen from Cross River, was first prevented from assuming the position of CJN, and when confirmed by the Vice President in the absence of the President, was immediately hounded out of office on return of the President under the most questionable circumstances. His replacement was a Northern Muslim, Ibrahim Tanko.
“We also recalls the forceful retirement of the Director General of the Department for State Security, DSS, Matthew Seiyefa, from Bayelsa State who was confirmed by Vice President Osinbajo in August 2017 in the absence of President Buhari, and forcefully retired by President Buhari on his return barely one month later. His replacement was also a Northern Muslim, Yusuf Bichi, who had long been retired.
“Of great worry to the Niger Delta is the obvious marginalisation of the people of the region not just within the leadership of these state institutions, but the gradual elimination of our people in the junior cadre of these state institutions. Recently, People’s Gazette released an investigative report showing the skewed recruitment undertaken by the DSS which saw Northern Nigeria produce a whopping 86% of recruits compared to Southern Nigeria’s 14%. The disproportionate representation of Niger Deltans in Nigeria’s security agencies is a source of concern to the region”.