An umbrella body of lecturers of Lagos State origin in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions, Lagosians In Academics has appealed to the state traditional institutions especially Obas and chiefs to desist from issuing letters of indigene to non-indigene residents in the state, noting that doing so deprives true Lagosians opportunities in federal institutions.
Spokesman of the group, Dr Elegbede Babatunde made the appeal when the group paid a courtesy visit to the Commissioner representing Lagos State at the Federal Character Commission, Abdulwasiu Bawa-Allah in his office on Friday.
He said, “It is quite unfortunate that some of traditional rulers and chiefs in the state are blameworthy for unguided issuance of letters of indigene to non-indigenes. They issue these letters to them without thoroughly investigating their claims. We have seen cases of people from Ogun State and other Southwest States gaining employment in federal institutions on the slots of Lagos State.
So as professionals in academic, we need to collaborate with the Federal Character Commission to enlighten our traditional rulers and chiefs, local government bosses and students on the dangers inherent in this practice. We also want to see the possibility of creating a Labour unit in the commission. If created, the unit will be responsible for identifying opportunities at the federal level and assisting qualified Lagosians to secure such opportunities.”
Reacting, Bawa-Allah said the rate at which people falsify letter of indigene of the state is shocking consequently letters of indigene and clearance issued by Local Government in Lagos state will no longer be acknowledged effective from December, 2020.
The Commissioner further revealed that more than half of the total number of candidates who applied for the constable cadre of the Nigerian Police Force claiming Lagos origin presented fake certificate of origin for the recruitment exercise.
He said, “In the Nigerian Police recruitment exercise that was conducted for constable cadre, you will be shocked by the number of fake letters of indigene that were discovered at the screening. More than half of the participants that claim Lagos citizenship are not from the state.
Recognising this fact, we have concluded that letters of indigene and clearance issued by Local Government areas in Lagos State will no longer be acknowledged starting from December, 2020.
Similarly, letters from Oba and chiefs will go through some level of clearance because some of them are in the habit of issuing certificates of origin to non-indigene of Lagos State which if discovered, such letters will no longer be accepted.
It is when we are able to address these problems and nip them in the bud that we can guarantee equity in appointment of Lagosians into the over 120 federal institutions across the state.”
Also speaking at the meeting, Chief Lecturer at the Yaba College of Technology, YabaTech, Dr Apena Akinkunmi described as absurd no representation of employees of Lagos State origin in federal agencies.
He said, “NIMASA has foreign scholarships which should be distributed evenly among citizens but we realised that 95 per cent of this scholarships were awarded to Niger Delta indigenes without any consideration for Lagos state indigenes.
With a critical look at the employees of the agency, we discovered that majority of these employees are from the North and South East regions. So also is the Nigeria Port Authority, NPA where we have only Lagosian in the workforce of over 400 who are largely Northerners.”