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Published On: Wed, Mar 19th, 2014

NASS probes Immigration recruitment tragedy

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House of Representatives reps logoBy Ikechukwu Okaforadi & Umar M. Puma

The two chambers of the National Assembly yesterday directed their committees on Interior, Labour, and Justice to probe the death of 16 applicants during a recruitment exercise conducted by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on Saturday.

In the Senate where the Interior Committee was directed to investigate the matter, the probe decision was taken following a motion titled “Nigerian Immigration Service’s Nationwide Aptitude Test and Physical Examination of March 15, 2014”, which was sponsored by Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and 10 other senators.

Other resolutions which the lawmakers agreed on after a heated debate were, that the executive should come up with a marshal plan on how to comprehensively tackle unemployment, saying this would serve as a permanent solution to the root-cause such tragedies.

After observing a minute silence in honour of those who lost their lives, they also commiserated with the families of those who lost their lives or sustained injuries at the recruitment exercise.

While ruling on the matter after the debate, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, said the tragedy goes beyond party politics, even as he pointed out that in line with Section 17(3) of the nation’s Constitution, if need be, the Senate shall legislate on increased employment in the country.

Leading debate on the motion, Senator Bagudu (Kebbi Central), said the Head of Service of the Federation (HoS) had in 2011 granted approval for the recruitment of 4556 personnel for various cadres for the NIS, including 1343 graduates, 1680 NCE holders, and 1531 SSCE holders.

He also recalled that following the HoS’ approval, an attempt was made to carry out the recruitment but had to be cancelled in 2012 due to the controversy that trailed the process, which ultimately led to the sack of the immediate past Comptroller General of the NIS, Rosemary Uzoma.

Bagudu, who said 700,772 applied for the jobs, added that despite the directives from the Customs, Immigration and Prisons services Board (CIPB) that applicants should not be charged money for application, the NIS ignored the order.

Meanwhile, the senators have denied media reports that the 4,556 job slots in the NIS have been shared to federal lawmakers and governors, saying it was only a plot to blackmail lawmakers.

“Prior to this tragic exercise, employment into the Nigeria Immigration Service is done in two usual ways. The service has responsibility of employment of junior officers, while the recruitment of senior officers is handled by the Customs, Immigration and Prisons Board (CIPB), making the introduction of consultants and charging of N1,000 per applicant, a completely new dimension”, Bagudu said.

Most of the senators who participated in the debate called for the sack of the Interior Minister, Abba Moro and the Comptroller-General of the NIS, David Parradang, for the shabby conducting the recruitment exercise.

Meanwhile, at the lower chamber, the House described the whole recruitment process as a scam, and urged its committees on Interior, Labour and Justice to conduct a public hearing by inviting relevant stakeholders and make recommendations for future exercises.

Members who contributed during the debate wondered how the interior ministry, as well as the NIS went on to sell thousands of forms to Nigerians, even when the vacancies were not close to the number of forms sold.

The lawmakers also urged the federal government to liaise with states and local governments to evolve a job creation scheme that would target the Nigerian youth, especially those interested in small businesses.

The House therefore resolved that any subsequent recruitment exercise by any federal agency must be conducted in an environment that is conducive, even as it urged that future exercises must be done via internet-mediated process.

Meanwhile, in its bid to avert the incessant killings of innocent lives in southern Kaduna, the House of Representatives yesterday ordered its Committee on National Security and Public Safety to investigate the massacre of over 100 people in Bondon village of Moroa Kingdom in Kaura local area of the state.

The House also urged security agencies to intensify their efforts to apprehend those behind the killings, so as to bring them to justice.

A motion under matters of urgent national importance moved by Rep Gideon Gwani (PDP, Kaduna), said gunmen invaded Bondon in the early hours of Saturday, killing scores, while many houses and other properties were destroyed.

“Since 2011, various communities in Kaura Federal Constituency have been targets of attacks by armed gunmen causing deaths, injuries and destructions”, Gwani said.

He added that prior to Saturday’s killings; seven members of a family “were murdered in their house on 1st February, 2014 with houses and property destroyed with assorted grains of food stolen.

“Again on the night of Friday, 14th March, 2014 to the early hours of Saturday, 15th March, 2014, a massacre took place in Bondon village of Moroa, leaving behind 123 people dead including children, women, men, aged, physically challenged people dead and many injured with over 240 buildings destroyed and assorted grains of food with other valuable items stolen”, he said.

The House directed the committee to carry out the assignment within two weeks and report back.


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