Denoir Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu has come under serious criticism following his comment in defence of the federal government’s exclusion of the South East in the recent appointment of Service Chiefs.
While the clamour for the appointment of a military Officer from the South East geo political zone as a Service Chief to balance the alleged injustice to the zone in taking major security decisions in the country, Shehu in a television interview he granted on Monday, defended the government’s position, claiming that the appointments were only done on merit and not on ethnic sentiments
Reacting to Garba Shehu’s claims, a group of Civil Society Organisations, under the aegis of Conference of Nigeria Civil Society for Peace and Security, expressed disappointed in the presidential aide’s statement, describing his justification of the exclusion of the Igbo from the appointments as not only insensitive but also selfish.
The group in a statement issued by its National Coordinator,Dr Aminu Shettima and National Secretary, Barr. Olufemi Amuda, wondered if competence only resides among the geo-political regions that President Buhari had consistently considered for appointments in his administration.
“We find this statement coming from Mallam Shehu Garba at this time when Nigerians are still adding their voices to the exclusion of the South East from the recent appointment of the Service Chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari as insensitive and irresponsible,” the group said in the statement.
“We view this statement as an attempt to justify this government’s continuous neglect and hatred for the Igbo Nation, which no doubt, is the third largest tribe in Nigeria.”
“While we agree totally that the appointment of Service Chiefs is not and should not be done on ethnic basis, we wish to ask if Igbo people of South East don’t have competent officers that can be appointed in the administration of President Buhari?”
“We wish to state here without hesitation that continuous alienation of people of Igbo extraction from the scheme of affairs in the administration of President Buhari is confirmation of the deep rooted hatred for the Igbo people by this administration,” the group added
It appealed to the president to use the remaining years in his administration to right his wrong and leave a good legacy and not to allow sycophants to further paint him in bad light as it is currently going. .
”Mr President and the entire members of his cabinet must know that we all need each other in Nigeria to survive, and injustice and lack of equity is a direct threat to peace and security.