Stampede: Perm Sec, immigration pass buck over recruitment failure
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Interior, Abubakar Magaji and the Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service, Martin Kure Abeshi yesterday distanced themselves from the failure to honour presidential directive for the recruitment of immigration stampede victims.
The duo, who appeared before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee set up to probe immigration’s failure to employ relations of the victims, blamed the presidential committee tasked to ensure recruitment of the 176 victims relations.
Last week, hundreds of the victims’ families marched to the National Assembly in protest and submitted a written petition to the House of Representatives.
The House, upon receipt of the petition same day, set up a 3-man committee that comprised House leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, minority leader, Leo Ogor and Rep Mukhtari Shagari to find out reasons for the inability of the recruited victims start work.
But the permanent secretary, in his presentation, said neither the ministry, nor the Civil Defense, Fire, Immigration and Prisons Board (CDFIPB) was carried along in the recruitment exercise, as they were not made part of the presidential committee.
This, according to Magaji, has led to the present procedural logjam of the victims’ families, who had already received letters of appointment since March, but could not start work ever since.
He said after issuing the appointment letters, the ministry had to halt the process since there was “no written approval by the president for the employment. We are also hearing it from media. There was no letter directing us to employ this person or this number of people.”
On his part, the immigration’s Comptroller General, represented by deputy Comptroller General, Henry Y Malgwi, said the service had already issued appointment letters to some victims’ relations when the Permanent Secretary ordered them “to stay action.”
Malgwi said the immigration, who only statutorily issues recruitment letter of junior cadre officers, was not aware of the initial exercise in 2013 which led to the stampede incidence.
The trio lawmakers asked the service of the initial recruitment exercise and the subsequent N1, 000 charge for the over 6,000 applicants.
But the deputy comptroller said “We don’t know where the monies collected from the applicant have been. In fact, we were not aware of that exercise. We only saw it on newspapers advertised by the Board.”
Malgwi told the committee that security verification has found that 15 applicants died in the stampede, while 131 were injured nationwide.
Chairman of the committee, Gbajabiamila told the duo that there is an impression that the whole recruitment exercise advertised for 2000 vacancies “was a scam to make money.”
From left: Deputy Comptroller- General of Immigration Service, Yahaya Malgwi; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Abubakar Magaji and Director Ministry of Interior, Abdulkarim Ibrahim, during the public hearing on Nigeria Immigration recruitment stampede at the National Assembly in Abuja yesterday.