Saturday, 11 June 2016

NIS Recruitment Scam: How the Ministry Over-Ruled Jonathan – Witness

The trial of Abba Moro, a former Minister of Interior, continued on Friday, June 10, 2016 with the former Comptroller-General of Nigerian Immigration Service, David Shikfu Paradang giving detailed account of how the ministry over-ruled former President Goodluck Jonathan in the ill-fated recruitment into the Service held on March 15, 2014 which led to the death of scores of Nigerian job seekers.

The former NIS boss stated this at the resumed trial of Moro before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja.

Paradang, had on Wednesday while testifying as PW1 told the court that he was sidelined by the former Minister (Moro), who neither him nor the board of the NIS informed him of the exercise until he saw an advertisement to that effect.


Led in evidence by counsel to the EFCC, Aliyu M. Yusuf, Paradang stated that, he wrote a letter to the Board on September 9, 2013 to enquire about the recruitment exercise but was not honured with a reply.

“I wrote again, precisely a month after that is, on October 9, 2013 because I saw another advert that extended the date of submission of applications. Still, there was no communication between me and the Board, untill October 20, 2013 when the secretary of the Board, Mr. Tapgun, replied me that they had recieved my letter.”

The letter was presented and admitted as exhibit.

“After that, there was no further communication between me and the Board untill on the third week of January 2014 when I went to the National Assembly with the minister (Moro) to defend our budget. To my uttermost dismay, it was there he (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.

“Eventually, the Board called for a meeting where I raised my objection to the exercise for reasons of paucity of funds but the Commitee suggested to the company engaged for the online recruitment to take N1000 (one thousand naira) 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.

“We called the Minister’s attention to it but he did not say anything until a day to the recruitment when he (the minister) told him (CG) to tell the comptrollers who would serve as supervisors to send their account numbers. I also received a letter from the Board that day (March 14, 2016) telling me that all arrangement had been concluded for the recruitment exercise”, Paradang stated

The document was presented and admitted as exhibit.

The PW1 went further, “that same day, the officers started calling to tell me that they had gotten alert of N300,000 (three hundred thousand naira) each. I was surprised because the Service still did not have money and I wondered where the money came from. Besides the money could not even rent a venue or enough to make provisions for ambulances let alone pay the allowances of the officers who will serve as supervisors.

“On the day of recruitment, I was in Jos with the minister. And not too long into the exercise, I started getting calls that the population of the applicants in each of the venues was overwhelming. I advised them to seek help from sister security agencies and keep me informed of the situation report. Not too long after that, I started getting calls and ‘sms’ that there were casualties. I told the minsiter the situation report and left immediately for Abuja.

“When I got to Abuja, I called the supervisors one by one to get their verbal reports and thereafter directed them to back it up with written reports.

“At the close of the day, we had 15 casualties and the DSS told us that the wounded were 165 nationally.

“I visited the National Hospital in company of the minister (Moro) the following day and the minister promised to pay the hospital bills of the wounded. We also visited the National Stadium to get reports of how the applicants jumped the fence.

“There was a public outcry and then, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan promised that the families of the deceased would get three employment slots each while the wounded would be given automatic employment.

“A year after, Jonathan made real his promise by giving employement letters to the families of the deceased as well as the wounded: an event that was broadcast live.

“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.

The letter was presented and admitted as exhibit.

Thereafter, Justice Dimgba adjourned to July 1 and 5, 2016 for continuation of trial.

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