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Ethnicity, religion not criteria for appointing heads of security agencies -Buhari

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SUNDAY ODE, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday dispelled the insinuations that the appointment of heads of security agencies should reflect the federal character principle.

According to him, the appointment of heads of security organizations under his government had been based purely on competence and merit without any consideration for region or state of origin.

The President stated this while addressing the Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, traditional and religious rulers in Anambra State on the sidelines of his campaign visit.

Responding to issues raised by the traditional rulers about marginalization of the South-East states particularly in the security sector, President Buhari commended the courage of the leaders in speaking their minds.

He, however, explained that he had been fair to all regions of the country since his assumption of duty as President on 29th May, 2015.He said: “I am pleased that you have the courage to present issues about your constituency but I expect you to be more patriotic in your presentation.

“In the south-east, there are five states, in the north, I think there are 18 states. In the south east, out of the five states. I think five members of the Federal Executive Council are from this region, Trade and Investment; Foreign Affairs; Labour; Science and Technology. And seven of the northern states have only Minister of State,” he noted.

President Buhari said he had appointed most people into the country’s security architecture without knowing them personally except their professional records. “I think I tried to be fair. And you can ask these Ministers. I never asked them how they are running their parastatals and the Boards. I appointed them and I trust them. I allow them to work”, he said.

He also said the same complaints from the South East had been coming from other parts of the country, saying that the complaints did not reflect the truth.“I don’t have to tell you what noise the other states are making especially when compared to the votes I got in 2015. So, I think I try to be fair.

The question of the police.Those of you, who were in the military even in the Biafra Army, know that the entry point is the same and you go for basic training, until you go to your formations or institutions whether it is Army, Navy, AirForce or the police. The most competent or senior person is the one that gets there.

“If there are half a million soldiers, only one man can be the Chief of Army Staff at a time. This is so for the rest of the troop. In recruitment, we make sure that by states, people are recruited. At least, this is what I do, people are recruited from each state. For those who manage to get recruited, it’s up to them to get to the top if they are professional and work for it.

“The present Chief of Army Staff, the Chief Air Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff even the previous Inspector-General of Police that just left, I didn’t know them personally before I appointed them. I followed records”, the President said.

President Buhari explained further that the current acting Inspector General of Police, Abubakar Adamu, was also appointed based on merit.

“The same thing with the IG; that one was appointed last week. I don’t think I have ever seen him, I followed records. So, appointments in the Armed Forces and other law enforcement agencies depends on individual performance after recruitment not where you think you come from. At least between me and God, this is what I do”, he noted.

The President emphasized that his government has done a lot in the provision of infrastructure for the entire South East region including Anambra State.

“On the issue of infrastructure, a lot of you that are here know that the last time the Enugu/Onitsha road was done was during the PTF days and it was also done again from Enugu to Port Harcourt. He urged Traditional rulers in the state to support the government in improving the security situation of the country at the grass root.

President Buhari, who promised that he was committed to the development of the region pleaded for the Igbo to vote him in the February 16 election.

Speaking on the fight against corruption, the President said going forward he would jail those who had over the years run down the fortunes of the nation, saying that such individuals should not be allowed to go scotfree.

He attributed his slow pace in prosecuting alleged treasury looters in the country to the need to follow due process of the law but assured Nigerians of his commitment to restoring the dignity of Nigeria while he serves as president.

Governor Willie Obiano who welcomed the President thanked him for putting down a total of N30billion for the actual take off of the Second Niger Bridge.

He also commended the President for government’s intervention on the Enugu/Onitsha road, and the on-going work on the second Niger bridge. He urged the President to also work of the Onitsa/Nsuka road.

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