The Department of State Services, DSS, is in the news again after the result of its just concluded recruitment exercise showed massive lopsidedness in the number of personnel employed from various regions of the country, in spite of the federal character principle as enshrined by the constitution.
It would be recalled that a total of 479 cadet officers were commissioned by the DSS during their passing-out parade in Lagos on March 5, after having undergone a nine-month training programme.
The training included academic activities, insurgency/counter insurgency, intelligence operations and gathering, firearms drills and physical training exercises.
However, popular online newspaper, Premim Times, reports that there was huge disparity in the number of slots allotted to the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, in what appeared to be a blatant jettisoning of the federal character principle.
According to the report, recruitment for the course was based on a minimum of five slots per state, apparently to ensure compliance with the federal character principle.
Applicants for the recruitment sat for exams at their various state capitals and the five slots per state were said to have been picked based on candidates’ performances in the examinations.
“However, it has emerged that the authorities paid scant regards to the federal character principle in the final selection of the cadets,” Premium Times reported.
At least five persons were recruited from each state and the FCT, but some other states have higher number of recruits than the others, and the criteria for such considerations remains a mystery.
For instance, Katsina State, where both President Muhammadu Buhari and the DSS Director General, Lawal Daura hails from, has 51 recruits, 7 more than the entire South East which has 44 recruits.
Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria’s largest oil producing State, has just 5 recruits, while Lagos State, the country’s commercial capital and second most populous State, has only 7 recruits.
The entire South-South geo-political zone, home to Nigeria’s major source of foreign exchange, has only 42 recruits while the North West has a whopping 165 persons recruited into the DSS, almost four times the number of recruits from the oil-rich South-South.
Below is a State by State breakdown of the number of recruits into the DSS.
Abia – 7; Adamawa – 19; Akwa Ibom – 5; Anambra -10; Bauchi – 23; Bayelsa – 7; Benue – 9; Borno – 16; Cross River – 9; Delta – 8; Ebonyi – 7; Edo – 6; Ekiti – 12; Enugu – 9; FCT – 7; Gombe – 14; Imo – 11; Jigawa – 14; Kaduna – 24; Kano – 25; Katsina – 51; Kebbi – 16; Kogi – 11; Kwara – 13; Lagos – 7; Nassarawa – 11; Niger – 11; Ogun – 8; Ondo – 9; Osun – 10; Oyo – 11; Plateau – 9; Rivers – 7; Sokoto – 15; Taraba – 16; Yobe – 12; Zamfara – 20.
North West – 165; North East – 100; North Central – 66; South West – 57; South East 44 and South-South – 42.
“It is not clear what criteria was used in the composition of the final list of the new officers,” Premium times reports.
Attempts to speak with the DSS on the matter were not successful as the agency has no spokesperson, and the DG, Daura would neither pick his calls nor return text messages.
Also, efforts to get the reaction of the Federal Character Commission, whose responsibility it is to ensure compliance with the principle in recruitment into the federal civil service and agencies, were futile.
Acting Chairman of the Commission, Shettima Bukar-Abba, did not pick his calls or respond to text message seeking clarifications on the role played by the commission in the DSS recruitment exercise.
Section 14, subsection 3 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria states 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 manner to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or sectional groups in that government or any of its agencies”.