Posted by News Express | 12 September 2014 | 4,180 times
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to probe the widespread allegation of extortion by government officials of applicants for the Federal Government Task Force (FERCSARA), created under the SURE-P/FERMA programme; even as it appealed to the Chief of Army Staff, General Kenneth Minimah, to abolish the auctioning of recruitment and entry level forms into the Nigerian Army with a view to devising a better crime-free and efficient recruitment mechanism devoid of profiteering.
HURIWA, in a statement made available to News Express, said it has it on good authority that applicants are made to cough out between N40,000 and N50, 000 each to secure these unavailable job openings, which they are yet to be offered, some since November 2013. The Rights group asked the Federal Government to arrest and prosecute the erring and criminally minded government officials who have been collecting the said sums of money from the job-seeking Nigerian youth numbering over 10,000.
On the sale of entry level forms into the Nigerian Army by the military authority, the group said it was wrong to place emphasis on money-making in such a sacred national security exercise, because it raises alarm that members of the dreaded armed Islamic insurgency may use the opportunity to gain entry into the Nigerian military, with the clandestine mandate to scuttle the ongoing anti-terror and counter-insurgency activities of the Federal Government.
HURIWA, according to the statement, jointly signed by National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Ms Zainab Yusuf, was reacting to the ongoing recruitment exercise into the Nigerian Army in which the military hierarchy in Abuja placed commercial advertisements in some mainstream print and electronic media inviting prospective recruits into the nation’s military, to proceed to specifically designated banks in major cities and towns of the federation to pick up the recruitment forms which goes for N1,000 each. The group said it is illegal and unconstitutional to mortgage national security at the altar of profiteering and self-centered commercial interest.
The group added that the practice of auctioning recruitment forms to all manner of persons in the guise of seeking to rake in profits for both the banks and some top officials in the Nigerian military smacks of disregard for patriotism, which poses a serious threat to the nation’s security.
It further expressed concern that the commercialisation rather than professionalisation of the Nigerian military could provide avenue for terror masterminds to purchase the military recruitment forms in huge quantities to be distributed to their foot soldiers who may be planted as moles in the Nigerian Army, as the military authorities over the years have failed to put effective mechanisms in place to sift criminal elements from genuine and credible prospective recruits willing to enlist in the Nigerian Army.
HURIWA has, therefore, called for the introduction of professionally excellent recruitment module that complies substantially to global best practices, as well as capturing the biometric data of all potential recruits into the Nigerian military. This, it averred, would help to determine their crime record and to ensure that foreign mercenaries are not offered unimpeded access into the military.
•Photo shows SURE-P Chairman, Gen Martin Luther Agwai (rtd).
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