Abuja - A witness has given an account how the Ministry of Interior over-ruled former President Goodluck Jonathan in the ill-fated recruitment exercise that led to the death of scores of Nigerian job seekers two years ago.
Former Comptroller-General of Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), David Shikfu Paradang, was testifying at the trial of former minister, Abba Moro, before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja.
Paradang, the first witness, told the court he was sidelined by Moro regarding the exercise, until he saw an advertisement to that effect.
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He alleged writing to the ministry to seek clarity but responses were not forthcoming.
Paradang disclosed during some day he went to the National Assembly with Moro to defend their budget, to his dismay, it was there Moro announced that a date had been fixed for the recruitment exercise.
“I was shocked because it betrayed our mission to the National Assembly and aside that, the service hadn’t any money for any recruitment at that time,” said Paradang.
Later, he testified, the NIS board called for a meeting where he raised my objection to the exercise for reasons of paucity of funds but the Committee suggested to the company engaged for the online recruitment to take N1000 (from each applicant to enable the Services fund the process.
“However, the company denied the offer and then we were brought back to a zero position.”
On the day of recruitment, March 14, 2014, Paradang said he was with the minister in Jos, where not too long into the exercise, Paradang started getting calls that the population of the applicants in each of the venues was overwhelming.
Later, he was informed there had been casualties.
Paradang recalled Jonathan promised that the families of the deceased would get three employment slots each while the wounded would be given automatic employment.
Sadly, the ministry, in a letter, over-ruled the president’s pronouncement and withdrew the letters of employment already delivered to the affected people. The letter also stated that fresh recruitment exercise would be conducted because the previous one was illegal,” Paradang narrated.
More than 20 people were killed at several overcrowded venues as 6,5 million people in all states turned up for the 4 000 vacant positions in the NIS.
The trial has been adjourned to July 1 and 5.
- CAJ News