By Femi Ogunshola
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the supplementary recruitment of 44 candidates by the Nigerian Navy, for allegedly violating the principle of Federal character.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance by Rep Ben Igbakpa (PDP-Delta) at the plenary on Wednesday, in Abuja.
Moving the motion, Igbakpa noted that all the successful candidates, called to report for training in two batches at the Nigerian Navy Basic Training School in Rivers State, were all from a particular section of the country.
This, according to him negated the Federal Character principle of inclusivity, equity and fair play.
He said that the Constitution provided that all appointments must reflect Federal Character, adding that there was need to ensure equal representation of the various ethnic extractions in the country.
Igbakpa said that the principle was also aimed at preventing domination by some ethnic groups, in the affairs of the country to the exclusion of others.
The principle appeared to have been observed more in the breach, he said, adding that appointments and recruitments into government agencies at the federal and state levels must be equitably spread.
According to him, adequate observance and implementation of the Federal Character principle will allay the fears of domination and denial by ethnic minorities and invariably foster national unity.
The House, therefore, directed the Nigerian Navy to immediately suspend the upcoming pre-screening exercise for the shortlisted candidates, with a view to strengthening the Federal Character law and ensuring better and more vigorous enforcement.
Every Nigerian deserved to be treated with dignity and on their rights, irrespective of where they might be located physically in the country, the House added.
It directed that it should be furnished with details of all recruitments from 2014 to date, showing the geographical spread.
The House also mandated its committee on the Navy to investigate the exercise and recommend appropriate measures to be taken against similar Constitutional violations in all government recruitment and report back within 12 weeks for further legislative action.