By Gabriel Enogholase

BENIN—A professor of History and International Studies in the University of Benin, Prof. Eddy Erhagbe, has insisted that the Federal Character clause as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution should be applied conscientiously at the national level to ensure that no ethnic group feels  alienated or marginalisation.

Prof. Erhagbe gave the charge at the Annual May Environmental Congress organised by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, in Benin City, Edo State.

He said: “Federal   Character provision   as   entrenched   in   the   federal constitution should be applied at the national level and this will ensure that no group feels  alienated and  marginalised.  In addition,  at  other tiers of government,  a deliberate effort should be made to  be equitable  in appointments  and distribution of amenities.

“We strongly believe that the increase in the tempo of agitations for restructuring is largely due to the feeling of alienation and perceived marginalisation of certain sections of the country by way of appointments and distribution of facilities and resources in the country.

“It  is also imperative that national integrative policies, such as the National Youth Service Corps,  NYSC, federal character clause, in terms of admission into Federal Unity Schools and  universities should be consolidated  and expanded, instead of  the current retrogressive policy of reducing the “Catchment area” for federal institutions.

“While some have tended to criticize the issue of ‘quota’ in the body politic of Nigeria, the fact remains that the policy is akin to the US policy of ‘affirmative action’ which is targeted   at   addressing   the  imbalance  among   groups,   especially   those   identified   as marginalized in the society. It follows that for the sake of addressing the urgent need for ethnic harmony and integration in the country, this policy should be pursued.”




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