THE MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR, COMRADE ABBA MORO, AND THE COMPTROLLER-GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION, DAVID SHIKFU PARRADANG, SHOULD BE RELIEVED OF THEIR POSITIONS AND FACE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION FOR INVOLUNTARY HOMICIDE
On Saturday, 15 March 2014, hundreds of thousands of job-seekers attended a recruitment-exam exercise organised by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in different centres across Nigeria to fill 4,556 vacancies. The Ministry of the Interior supervises the NIS.
The Ministry and the NIS had compelled each jobseeker, as an eligibility condition for participating in this hire process, to pay the sum of one thousand Naira. There is no evidence that these sums were remitted to the Federation Account as required by law.
At different centres around the country, including Abuja, Benin, Kano, Minna, and Port-Harcourt, more than ten job-seekers, including pregnant mothers, were killed and many more were injured in stampedes caused by grossly negligent and uncaring ground arrangements.
This tragedy was needless, foreseeable and avoidable. The failures of the Ministry of the Interior and NIS to adequately manage the process and safeguard the safety and security of the jobseekers are inexcusable.
The deaths that resulted from these failures, therefore, were unlawful. If the lives of Nigerians mean anything, the leadership and management teams in the Ministry of the Interior and the NIS must be held to account for these killings.
In his reaction to the killings, Minister of the Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, accused the victims of “impatience”, claiming that the deaths resulted because “they did not follow the laid down procedures spelt out to them before the exercise.”
The effort by the Minister responsible for citizenship in Nigeria to blame the victims rather than take responsibility shows a callous disregard for the lives of Nigerians incompatible with his high Ministerial brief. It brings public service into disrepute. In the circumstances, we the undersigned, as citizens of Nigeria, respectfully demand that
(a) The Minister of the Interior, Comrade Abba Moro; and the Comptroller –General of Immigration, Mr. David Shikfu Parradang, be immediately relieved of their positions by the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan;
(b) The Honorable Attorney-General of the Federation and the Inspector-General of Police together with the Director-General of State Security, should launch a joint criminal investigation into the killings of these jobseekers;
(c) An independent audit by a reputable firm should immediately be instituted into the monies made by the Ministry and the NIS from the jobseekers attending the recruitment-exam exercise and criminal investigations should be commenced as appropriate;
(d) The current recruitment process should be subject to independent monitoring and evaluation which includes a publicly-available report as an output.
(e) The Federal Government should demonstrate a readiness to address the massive problem of youth unemployment as a national security priority through a partnership involving the agricultural sector, the public sector, the private sector, the voluntary sector, and multilateral development bodies.
To the families across the country bereaved as a result of these and other ongoing challenges in our country, we take this opportunity to convey our heartfelt condolences and pray for the peaceful repose of the souls of our deceased brothers and sisters.
Dr. Chidi Odinkalu
Dr. Jibrin Ibrahim
Yemi Candide-Johnson, SAN
Dr. Kole Shettima
Dr. Bibi Bakare-Yusuf
Dr. Jeremy Weate
Prof. Nsongurua Udombana
Dr. Charmaine Pereira
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