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Gani slams FG over non-appointment of Igbo as IG

Posted by By YINKA FABOWALE on 2007/06/09 | Views: 654 |

Gani slams FG over non-appointment of Igbo as IG


Lagos lawyer and human rights crusader, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), has slammed the Federal Government over the shoddy treatment meted out to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr Ogbonnaya Onovo, who took over briefly from retired Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr Sunday Ehindero, before the appointment of Mr Mike Okiro as the acting IG in his stead.

Lagos lawyer and human rights crusader, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), has slammed the Federal Government over the shoddy treatment meted out to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr Ogbonnaya Onovo, who took over briefly from retired Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr Sunday Ehindero, before the appointment of Mr Mike Okiro as the acting IG in his stead.

Fawehinmi citicised the sidelining of Onovo, who was next in rank to Ehindero, condemning it as unfair, unjust, unconstitutional and betraying an apparent age-long mindset of excluding the Igbo people, who constitute one of the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria from the leadership of the police.

Onovo, an Igbo and most senior officer, took over from Ehindero on the latter’s retirement, only for Okiro to be named Acting Inspector General shortly after.

Fawehinmi frowned at this, wondering if it was a mere chance that the headship of the police force had eluded the Igbo, despite their sterling credentials.
In a statement he issued in Lagos on Tuesday, the human rights activist observed that no Igbo is among the 13 indigenous occupants of the exalted position since independence to date.
He said the continued marginalisation of the Igbo from the top echelon of the police breached the constitution, which, in its preamble, sought to establish equality and justice among the constituents of the federation.

Besides, he said the constitution did not support this, as Section 14, sub section 3 provided inter-alia that: "The composition of the government of the federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity and also to command national loyalty."
He asked if none of the many qualified Igbo officers in the upper hierarchy of the police did not merit the number one position.

In respect of Onovo, Fawehinmi said: "If he (Onovo) was qualified to be a Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), why should he not be qualified to be an Inspector General of Police (IGP)?," adding, "I demand an explanation from the Yar’Adua adiministration."
The radical lawyer said the development appeared a distrust of the Igbo, as a psychological after-effect of the civil war in which the rest of the federation engaged the secessionist Igbo in the eastern part of the country for three years of bloody conflict.

He warned that the trend, unless checked, constituted a threat to the unity of the country. His words: "I am worried because I hold the unity of this country so dearly. Apart from being a lawyer, I believe that the unity of Nigeria must be taken as a religion in the sense that not only should we believe in unity, we must be seen to be doing things to promote unity. Whatever may be the reason, or non-reason for the exclusion of an Igbo from an appointment as Inspector General of Police cannot be right and something should be done about it so that every Nigerian, whatever may be his or her tribe or his or her religion, is taken as a member of a united family of Nigeria."

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