Christians across the country have called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to prevail on police authorities to cancel the ongoing police recruitment exercise.
The reported inclusion of Arabic questions in the written recruitment exams organised for the police by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has sparked off protests since Friday when the Computer Based Test took off.
The old suspicion of an existing Islamisation agenda was revived, compelling Christian leaders to request the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, and the Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC), retired IGP, Sir Mike Okiro, to cancel the test.
A northern Christian leader, Bishop Mayo Jinga, told DAILY INDEPENDENT on phone that the inclusion of Arabic was a ploy to marginalise Christians in the country, especially in the North.
He urged Okiro to “cancel the exercise and let another examination without Arabic Language be set for the candidates.”
Speaking in the same vein, the Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, Northern Zone, Rev. Yakubu Bam, said: “The use of Arabic is condemnable in its entirety. All Nigerians are entitled to equal rights.”
He urged President Buhari and the National Assembly to order the cancellation of the exercise.
“The president and the National Assembly should cancel the exercise and set up another examination in English Language for only credible Nigerians who merit the job to be recruited,” he said.
“Northern Christians have always cried of being marginalised.
“Under this regime, it should not be condoned. Northern Christians should be given equal rights like their Muslim counterparts,” he added.
Also speaking, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) National Youth President, Engr. David Kadzai, wondered what relevance it was to add Arabic Language to an official matter.
According to him, “There are some people who want to sabotage government’s plans; otherwise, who is responsible for the inclusion of Arabic in the questions?”
Engr. Kadzai also believed that if this trend continued, “the position is that, very soon the police would be using Arabic in their official communication.”
Still condemning the inclusion of Arabic, the Christian leader noted that, “Arabic is not used in our normal official communication in Nigeria. Why did they not use Igbo, Yoruba, or Hausa, because these are languages used in some police stations in the North, in the East and in the West. These are our official languages.”
He called on President Buhari, IGP Idris, and Chairman PSC, retired IGP Okiro, to “cancel the exercise and conduct another free and fair examination,” advising that “if they want to add our languages, they should add Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa.”
For Pastor Akin Ayawanle of Splendour Church, Lagos, the use of Arabic is condemnable.
“Nigeria is not yet declared an Arabic state, why should they set a national examination in an Arabic language. This is totally wrong, another examination should be set without Arabic language,” he said.
However, the Chairman of PSC, Mike Okiro, who said he got the complaint on Saturday, noted that he called the Director of Examinations of JAMB.
He said the director explained to him that the Arabic, Agriculture, as well as Art subjects were deliberately added to fill up the 180 questions required.
“They were support questions already in the software that powered the computer,” he revealed.
According to Okiro, the Director told him that the error was in 33 centres, and that any candidate who answered the questions on Arabic, Agriculture, and Arts were wasting their time because they would not be marked.”
But JAMB had denied the inclusion of Arabic in the exam.
But the Northern Christian leaders faulted the Director’s explanation, insisting that it was a ploy to prevent most Christians from entering the police.
Investigations by DAILY INDEPENDENT revealed that in the Northern part and Middle Belt of the country, the questions were 180, and out of the number, about 40 were in Arabic.
However, in the South-South and South-East, the questions were 60, unlike in the North and Middle Belt. And there were no questions in Arabic.
Similarly, our investigations further revealed that in the South-West, there were no questions in Arabic.
Our efforts to get the police in Kano, the state with the highest local government areas, to speak met brick wall as the spokesman of the state police command, Magaji Musa, flared up when he called to respond to our SMS sent to him.
He retorted: “Why did you choose to ask only me such questions? Am I the only PRO in the country?”
He hung up and refused to listen to any explanations.
One of the candidates in Jos, the Plateau State capital, told DAILY INDEPENDENT that out of the 180 questions, about 40 were in Arabic, but that because he did not understand Arabic, he did not answer those ones.
Another candidate in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, said the questions were 180 and 40 were in Arabic. “I don’t understand Arabic language, so I did not answer those questions,” she said.
Some Northern elite who spoke to DAILY INDEPENDENT argued that if it was not a ploy to marginalise Northern Christians, “why was it that the questions for the North and Middle Belt were higher than the ones for South-South, South-East, and South-West?”
One of them also queried JAMB’s decision to make up 180 questions with Arabic, Agriculture, and Arts.
“Must the questions be up to 180? Are they saying that if the questions for the North are only 100, the candidates cannot be recruited into the police?”