NSPMC Appointment: Buhari may have breached the Constitution – HURIWA

President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval of the appointment of Ahmed Halilu as the managing director of Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company, NSPMC Plc, may be in clear breach of the Oath of office of the President of Nigeria sworn to by the President before assumption of office if the report that the appointee is the elder brother of his wife is correct, the Rights group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has averred. 

Quoting a media report, the Rights group said Alhaji Halilu, an elder brother to the First Lady Aisha Buhari, has headed the company in acting capacity, following the resignation of Abbas Masanawa on May 16. It was reliably gathered that the president approved the appointment after the recommendation of the governor of Central Bank Godwin Emefiele, who serves as the NSPMC board chairman.

HURIWA citing the media report on the matter stated that the said  Mr Halilu has reportedly scooped over 23 years of experience in the Banking industry having worked with African International Bank Limited, AIB and Zenith Bank Plc just as he was a participant of Senior Executive Course 39, 2017 of the National Institute for Policy & Strategic Studies Kuru, Jos leading to award of Member of the National Institute, mni. Mr Halilu, according to the media finding holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture B. (Agric), Masters in Business Administration as well as Masters in International Affairs & Diplomacy all from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.

HURIWA in the statement endorsed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko said in as much as it is not in doubt whether the gentleman in the person of Alhaji Ahmed Halilu is competent or qualified to so hold such an esteemed and professionally inclined position given his illustrious academic and working backgrounds, but what is in issue is the ethics of the action of the President and its legality bearing in mind the fuller import of the constitutionally protected Oath of office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and also the question of whether President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision was impeded by his private affiliations to the person of Ahmed Halilu who is reportedly related to him by marriage as the biological big brother of his only known Wife and the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria just as HURIWA said the appointment may border on nepotism. HURIWA maintained that the appointment violates the Federal character principles of the Federal Republic of Nigeria enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended. 

HURIWA said the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended provides a binding Oath of office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the seventh schedule, thus: “I, ………….. do solemnly swear/affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will discharge my duties to the best of my ability, faithfully and in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will strive to preserve the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions; that I will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will abide by the Code of Conduct contained in the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that in all circumstances, I will do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will; that I will not directly or indirectly communication or reveal to any person any matter which shall be brought under my consideration or shall become known to me as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, except as may be required for the due discharge of my duties as President; and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of Nigeria. So help me God.”

HURIWA is therefore asking President Muhammadu Buhari to revoke this appointment which may have violated the Constitution or the National Assembly should investigate the legality or otherwise of this appointment since if this is not challenged then before May 29th 2023, we may wake up to find out that Mr.President has appointed one of his foreign educated kids such as his Son Yusuf as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria since he can appoint his brother-in-law as Head of the institution that prints and mints the national currency of Nigeria. 

HURIWA recalled that Nigeria historically and factually is a diverse country,  comprising multi-ethic nationalities in the North and the South. The framers of the extant constitution recognised this diversity and enacted Federal Character Commission Act to accommodate the interests of all groups. 

The Act seeks to promote, monitor and enforce compliance with the principles of the proportional sharing of all bureaucratic, economic, media and political posts at all levels of government.

HURIWA stated that the Federal Character clause in Section 14 (3) of the Constitution states as follows: “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, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.”

But the Act is observed in breach under Buhari, and with an annoyingly detached temperament of ‘I  dont care attitude’.

According to public records, the Southeast and Southsouth have marginal representation in Buhari government, while the North takes majority appointments.

The President appointment into the country’s security service over the years has been condemned widely even as this one sided and nepotistic pattern of strategic national appointments that favours the Muslim North has been escalated to an unprecedented dimension. 

HURIWA stated that evidence abound to demonstrate that top appointments into the country’s security service by President Buhari since 2015 favours officers from the northern part of the country.

Te President appointment into the leadership cadre of the Nigerian security services, between 2015 and 2020, only two of the eight security chiefs were from the South: the chief of defence staff (South West) and the chief of naval staff (South-South). 

The remaining six, including the heads of the army, police, national intelligence agency and state security service, are all Northerners.

Also, as of April 6, 2021, a regional analysis of the heads of security agencies conducted by a media institution known as The ICIR, including paramilitary and antigraft agencies based on their state of origin shows that 12 out of 16 of them (75 percent) are from the northern part of the country, while just four (25 percent) are from the southern part of the country.

These agencies are Defence, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Airforce, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security (DSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Nigeria Correctional Service, Nigeria Immigration Service, and Nigeria Customs Service.

Others are Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Federal Fire Service, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

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