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Immigration tragedy: Moro accepts responsibility

The Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro, has explained why the March 15 recruitment into the Nigerian Immigration Service was all inclusive

He also explained why he accepted responsibility for the death of 20 persons during the recruitment across the country.

The minister, who stated these in his presentation to the Senate, which was made available to journalists in Abuja on Sunday, insisted that the buck about the tragedy stopped on his table.

He said the recruitment was made an all-inclusive exercise where all qualified job seekers took part.

Moro said, “On my assumption of office as minister, I took cognisance of the unprecedented challenges facing the recruitment processes, procedures and practice in the paramilitary services under the supervision of the ministry. Such experiences were characterised by incoherent procedures, favouritism, job racketeering and unequal opportunities among others and therefore needed immediate attention.

“The noble task before me was to institute measures that would ease the application procedures, enthrone an open and transparent process, allow for equal opportunities, institute a process for the engagement of qualified and deserving persons and also to ensure the reflection of federal character pursuant to applicable federal laws.”

He said in December 2012 the immigration service approached him with a waiver for the recruitment of 4,556 personnel from the office of the Head of Service of Nigeria.

He said the exercise was cancelled because it was marred by controversy and accusations of tribalism, nepotism, job racketeering and lopsidedness.

The minister said, “522,652 were shortlisted for the aptitude test and physical examination. For the avoidance of doubt, neither the Ministry, the Board, nor the Nigerian Immigration Service was involved in the collection and custody of the processing/technology fees of the application process.

“This decision was taken mindful of the fact it was not a business or profit making venture for the ministry but an exercise to ensure efficiency and transparency in the conduct of recruitment into the services.”

He said the e-recruitment platform had been used by other services including the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Airforce, Federal Road Safety Commission and the National drug Law enforcement Agency.

The minister denied that the NIS and the NIS board were sidelined from the recruitment exercise.

Moro expressed sadness over the way events turned out to be, saying “our patriotic desire was the pursuit of a more honest, a more transparent, a more cost effective, a more efficient and equitable platform.

He stated that adequate preparations were made for a hitch -free recruitment, but lamented that “as most things in administrative and human conditions, the yield curve of expected outcome is mostly undefined.”

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