The minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello, has been accused of failing to appoint a Southern Christian, Lawal Salau, as director of treasury despite being the most senior officer in the department.
A group, People for a Greater FCT, made the accusation in a petition to the Senate.
FCT Minister Muhammad Bello
The group said the action of the minister had denied the entire FCT residents the critical services rendered by the office of the director of treasury.
According to a statement by the group, signed by Suleiman Umar, the convener, Salau was not confirmed by Bello because of where he comes from and the religion he practices.
“The Senate is invited to note that the tenure of the ex-Director of Treasury FCT, Mallam Ishaku Ismaila, expired in April 2020 and he was expected to hand over to the next person in the line of succession in line with laid down Civil Service Rules and the extant provision of the FCT Act LFN 2004.”
“After his departure, Mr Lawal Salau acted briefly and was not confirmed because, according to many sources within the department, he was a southerner. He exited in September 2020, and for several months now, the Honourable Minister has deliberately refused to appoint the next most senior officer, who is a southerner.
“The office of the Director of Treasury for the FCT has been locked since September, thereby bringing the financial affairs of the city to a halt without legal justification and or excuse under the nose of the Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory. This illegal action has denied the entire residents of the FCT the critical services rendered by the Office of the Director of Treasury, which is against the oath taken by the Honourable Minister.
“Furthermore, we wish to put on record that the action of the Honourable Minister amounts to an abuse of office and a disturbing religious and ethnic profiling of a citizen of a Federal Republic of Nigeria. The minister has failed in this regard, and as a resident of FCT, we are genuinely alarmed by his nonchalant attitude and inaction in particular because we had high hopes upon his inauguration that he shall deliver services and rise above partisan politics, ethnicity and nepotism.
“We have it on good authority that the said Mr Lawal Salau was not confirmed because of where he hails from. This is a sad development, especially within the Federal Capital Territory that should serve as the point of unity and oneness for all citizens. Action such as this questions the status of the FCT as belonging to all Nigerian irrespective of tribe, religion and political leanings.”
Making four demands from the Senate, the group said, “In view of the foregoing, we wish to demand your intervention as follows accordingly: That the office of the Director of Treasury currently under lock and key be opened to carry out its statutory duties and serve the Administration and members of the public.
“That the most senior official within the department be allowed to assume duty as the substantive Director of the Department.
“That the Ministry be officially admonished to shun acts capable of igniting and stoking religious and ethnic hostility within the territory.
“Review appointments made in the FCT under the current Minister to ascertain their compliance with the Federal Character principle as enshrined in our laws and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
SaharaReporters, New York