SSS Recruitment Scandal in Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Kano, Kastina

SSS Recruitment Scandal in Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Kano, Kastina - Are you aware that Nigeria’s internal secret service, the State Security Service (SSS), is enmeshed in a recruitment scandal following the exposure of a shocking lopsidedness in the composition of the new officers recently absorbed into the agency.

The State Security Service agency recently commissioned 479 cadet officers after their passing-out parade in Lagos on March 5, at a ceremony attended by the Director-General of the Agency, Lawal Daura, and the Chief of Air Staff, Abubakar Sadique, Air Marshall.

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As time passed, the parade followed a nine-month training program under the agency’s Basic Course 29/2016/17, which encompassed academic activities, insurgency/counterinsurgency, intelligence operations and gathering, firearms drills and physical training exercises.

After the recruitment process, the complete list of the newly commissioned cadet officers seen on newspapers reveal wide disparity in the numbers of slots allocated to the thirty six states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), indicating that the federal character principle may have been ignored in the recruitment of the SSS officers.

By the books, SSS recruitment for the Course was based on a minimum of five slots per state. Ostensibly to ensure compliance with the federal character principle in the exercise, applicants were last year made to sit for recruitment examinations in the capitals of their states of origin. The 5 slots per state were said to have been picked through the internal examinations.

Notwithstanding, it was recorded that the authorities paid scant regards to the federal character principle in the final selection of the cadets.

Even though, the SSS authorities ensured that at least 5 cadets were recruited from each state and the Federal Capital Territory, they grotesquely tipped the scale in favor of some states in the balance of recruits that emerged from other extraneous considerations.

Take for example, while only the minimum of 5 cadets stipulated per state finally entered the Service from Akwa Ibom, Nigeria’s largest oil producing state, a whopping 51 found their way in from Katsina State, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Director-General of the SSS, Mr. Daura.

Newsmen could not point out what criteria was used in the composition of the final list of the new officers.

The anomaly in the exercise is further evident in the disparity between intakes from the two most populous states in Nigeria, Kano and Lagos, which have 25 and seven, respectively, indicating that the size of the pool of applicants from each state was not a factor in the recruitment.

A breakdown of the newly commissioned cadet officers on geopolitical basis revealed that 165 are from the North-west, about four times as many as those who were picked from the South-south (42).

The figures for the other zones are North-east (one hundred), North-central (sixty six), South-west (fifty seven) and South-east (forty four).

This technically explains that while three hundred and thirty one people from newly commissioned officers are from the nineteen northern states and the FCT, less than half of the total intakes were from states in the southern part of Nigeria. See table and charts below for slots allocated to each state.

Attempts to speak with the SSS on the criteria used for the allocation of slots to states were not rewarded as at the time of this publication.

The agency has had no spokesperson since the removal of its last one, Marilyn Ogar, in 2015. The Director-General of the agency, Mr. Daura, did not pick calls or respond to a text message sent to his known telephone numbers.

Also, the Acting Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, Shettima Bukar-Abba, did not pick his calls or respond to a message seeking clarifications on the role played by the commission in the recruitment exercise.

The Commission has the responsibility of ensuring compliance with the federal character principle in recruitment into the federal civil service and agencies.

In a demonstration of the importance attached to the principle, it has been enshrined in every constitution of Nigeria since the country’s independence.

SSS Recruitment Scandal in Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Kano, Kastina

Nigerian Constitution - 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”.
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