The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, the apex Igbo socio-cultural body, has urged youths in the South-East to join the Nigeria Police Force.
The call by Ohanaeze came after the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Solomon Arase, expressed worry last week that the South-East area, particularly Anambra, Ebonyi, Abia, and Imo states, had the lowest turnouts in the ongoing police recruiting.
According to the PSC, as of last Wednesday, Anambra State had the fewest applicants with 541, while Kaduna State had the most with 20,259 applicants.
Adamawa State came in second with 18,933 applications, followed by Borno State with 18,305, Bauchi State with 16,554, Katsina State with 16,232, and Kano State with 15,888.
The other South-East states did not fare much better than Anambra, with Ebonyi receiving 737 applications, Abia receiving 966, Imo receiving 999, and Enugu receiving 1,036.
In response to the Igbo’s lack of interest in the exercise, Ohanaeze spokesperson Dr. Alex Ogbonnia asked the region’s youths to apply for police posts.
Ogbonnia said, “Our people are advised to key into the police recruitment because, at this time around, you can’t begin to talk about marginalization when they are calling for it and our people are not showing interest.”
The Ohanaeze also noted that “Regardless of the rank being recruited, our boys roaming around should go and join the police.”
However, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) blamed the lack of interest of youths from the south-east in the police recruitment on alleged marginalization.
Emma Powerful, the IPOB spokesman, stated in an interview with newsmen that “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 marginalization 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.”
The PSC, on the other hand, disputed IPOB’s charges, stating that the police had never discriminated against the Igbo or any other ethnic group.
The spokesperson for the PSC, Ikechukwu Ani, said, “There’s no marginalization 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.”