By Mary Bassey
Child Protection Network (CPN) Nigeria, Cross River State chapter has called for calm and due process in the leadership succession saga that has beclouded the Department of Social Welfare, Ministry of Humanity and Social Welfare (MHSW) in the State.
The call was made in a letter signed and made available by CPN’s State Coordinator Kebe Ikpi and the Secretary Cletus Bassey saying that the tussle of who becomes the next Director of Social Welfare in the Department should not be politicized and should be given to the most senior and qualified staff.
Ikpi warned that any attempt to play politics with who occupies the Director’s office outside the most senior in the Department will be tantamount to politicizing the lives of Cross River State Children. Adding that the Network supports fairness, equity, and justice in the selection of the next Director of Social Welfare for the Ministry.
It reads in parts: “Child Protection Network (CPN) Cross River State has become aware of the leadership succession tussle at the Department of Social Welfare, Ministry of Humanity and Social Welfare (MHSW) and thus calls for principles of fairness, professionalism, and precedence to be followed in the appointment of the next Director of Social Welfare.
“The Network is non-partisan and saddled with the responsibility of ensuring children’s best interests are met in the State through its coordinating activities with actors (formal and informal organizations and individuals).
“The protection and welfare of children in the State cannot be complete without a functional Social Welfare Department and the tussle of who becomes the Director of the department is capable of affecting service delivery, thereby exposing Violence Against Children (VAC) survivors to more harm.
“On this note, the Child Protection Network supports fairness, equity, and justice in the selection of the next Director of Social Welfare for the Ministry.
“It is an established precedent at the ministry that the most senior officer becomes Director at the exit of the substantive Director. As at the time of this release, records at the office of the Head of Service show that Mrs. Komomo Obeten is the most senior officer and the person to become the Director of Social Welfare – just as it has been done in the past.
“It is even morally wrong to appoint a Level 15 Officer as director when there is a qualified Level 16 Officer who should be so appointed. Any attempt to play politics with whoever occupies this office is tantamount to politicizing the lives of Cross River State Children.
“We hereby use this medium to call on the Governor of the State, Honourable Commissioner of the Ministry, and the Head of Service to put the interest of children first (and not politics) in resolving the issue of who becomes the Director.
“Available and verifiable facts show that Mrs. Komomo Obeten, a level 16 Officer ought to be so appointed. The Network will continue to make its position clear in fairness and a clear conscience.”