The Customs, Immigration, Civil Defence, Prisons and Fire Service Board (CICDPFB) yesterday indicted the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro for the conduct of last weekend’s Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment exercise which led to the death of some applicants, as it disowned the selection process.
This is coming at a time President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the cancelation of last Saturday’s NIS recruitment exercise.
A Commissioner on the Customs, Immigration and Prisons Board, Mr. S.D. Tapgun, who appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Rep Solomon Adeola, said the Board was totally sidelined in the conduct of the exercise.
According to him, there was no Board approval for the exercise. “Only the Interior Minister and the consultant he engaged for the exercise can tell Nigerians exactly what happened. Even the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service was not involved. He was not part of the recruitment at all. There was no Board resolution to recruit anybody”, Mr. Tapgun said.
“When we, the members of the Board learnt about the recruitment, we wrote the minister that we are not in support of engaging the services of a third party to conduct recruitment for the Immigration Service; but he ignored our letter and went ahead to engage the consultant named Rexel Technical Global Nigeria Limited. The consultant fixed everything including a N1,000 fees which they claimed was administrative charges”, he added.
The commissioner insisted that the members of the Board were ready to confront the minister any day, any time to prove to the entire nation that they were never part of the botched exercise.
He said by the records at the disposal of the Board, 693,000 applicants registered for the recruitment exercise and paid N1,000 each to banks designated by the consultant.
Based on the revelation, the committee has summoned the interior minister and the consultant to appear before it to explain to the whole nation where they derived the power to conduct an illegal recruitment exercise without passing through the Board. They are also to account for the money collected for the exercise.
The committee chairman disclosed that the committee had summoned the Board before the unfortunate incident when it was brought to its notice that applicants were being charged N1,000 each by the NIS for the recruitment exercise.
“This is a fraud. Nigerians, our children have been defrauded to the tune of a billion naira. The minister and the consultant must tell the whole Nigerians how much was collected ,the banks where the monies are being kept, and the account numbers, among others”, Rep Adeola said.
Meanwhile, Information Minister, Labaran Maku, told newsmen yesterday that Jonathan has given a directive for the cancellation of the recruitment exercise during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, which was devoted to paying condolences to the families of the applicants who died during the recruitment exercise.
Maku said the president also directed that three employment slots be reserved in the NIS for the relatives of each of the deceased, and for all the applicants who sustained injuries, saying one of the three beneficiaries from the deceased’s families must be a woman.
He said the president also set up a special committee headed by the Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) to conduct a fresh recruitment exercise into the NIS at a later date.
The minister said the members of the committee include, the Comptroller-General of NIS, representatives of the Inspector-General of Police, Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Director General of the State Security Service, Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) and Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corps(FRSC).
“This committee will proceed to conduct the exercise to fill the vacancies in the Nigerian Immigration Service,” Maku said.
He also disclosed that Jonathan would be meeting with the families of the victims when he returns from his trip to The Hague for a summit on nuclear security next week.
Meanwhile, an aide to the interior minister, Malam Salisu Dantata Mohammed, told journalists yesterday that the venues of the recruitment exercise were crowded by employed professionals, including bankers, engineers, medical doctors and nurses, teachers and others, who he said, wanted to cross over to the Immigration Service, at all costs.
The minister’s aide explained that the uninvited job seekers caused the stampede, though the ministry had put in place necessary logistics to control crowd at the recruitment centres.
According to him, the many applicants who formally applied added to the problem by using Facebook and text messages to invite friends and relations who had no business being at the centres.
“About 520,000 applied for the recruitment exercise across the federation. We had in our record that applicants totalling 68,000 were to be at the Abuja Stadium, for instance. But at the end, nearly 70 percent of non-applicants forced their ways into the stadium.
“Apart from the committees that planned the exercise ahead, we had security personnel drawn from the Immigration, Civil Defence, Prisons, Fire services and others to complement the police. We made adequate preparations”, he emphasised.
Meanwhile, the management of the National Hospital, Abuja, through its spokesman, Dr. Tayo Haastrup, said it is yet to release six out of the seven corpses of those who died during the Immigration recruitment stampede in Abuja, because it wants to verify the identity of the victims’ relations.