President Goodluck Jonathan has directed immediate cancellation of last Saturday’s Nigerian Immigration Service recruitment exercise where about 17 applicants lost their lives across the country.
President Jonathan also directed that young members of the deceased families, one of which must be a female, are to be given automatic employment, so are all the injured currently receiving treatment in hospitals across the country.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of th Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which lasted exactly an hour and presided over by the President, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said Council members took turns to condole families of the deceased over their loss and send their best wishes to those injured, in the exercise which they described as ill-fated.
The President according to Maku has warned all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) henceforth not to embark on such exercise again with the exception of the Armed Forces and Police, warning dare consequences will be metted out to defaulters.
He said the entire Council meeting was dedicated to condolences to the families of the deceased.
“FEC noted with grief and deep regrets the tragedy of those who died in the ill fated Nigeria Immigration exercise. FEC in sending condolences to the families of the deceased and also in sending special wishes to those who are injured and receiving treatment in various hospitals in different parts of the country expressed total regrets that this tragedy took place at all.
“Council members were full of grief when the issue was discussed. We expressed our condolences to the President and Vice President and we indeed reassured Nigerians that all of us who have the privilege of servicing this nation at this time are feeling the pains with the families of our young ones who lost their lives.
“We reaffirmed our commitment to ensuring that this kind of tragedy does not repeat itself in this country”, Maku said.
The Information Minister said, the President has also directed that as soon as he returns from his trip abroad he will meet with the families of the deceased to express his personal condolences to them over the sad tragedy that took place on Saturday.
“He instructed all MDAs henceforth never to embark on any exercise of this nature in recruiting people into the public service, because what happened could have been avoided altogether.
“He has directed that henceforth no one outside the Armed Forces, Police, who usually recruit people through physical exercises, no other MDA or department of government is allowed to embark on this type of exercise that we witnessed on Saturday.
“Our hearts go out to the families of the deceased, this nation is fully behind them, the grief is not their own, the grief is the grief of all Nigerians and the grief is the grief of the government and the people of Nigeria. We regret it and pray for the souls of those who have departed”, he said.
Maku further stated that Council noted that “It is regrettable that this took place at a time that every effort was being made by government to increase spaces available for employment. For example last year we were able to get 1.6 million employed in the various sectors of the economy and the public service. However this incident is so painful to all of us and we will not want to see in this country young job seekers looking for job and loosing their lives in the process.
“We assure the nation today that every step will be taken to look into the various lapses in recruitment exercises into the public service to be sure that all those who are qualified get access into the public service without going through this kind of experience”.
The President has also set up a special committee headed by the Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Deaconess Joan Ayo, to conduct a new recruitment exercise to fill the vacancies in the Nigeria Immigration Service at a yet to be determined date.
Other members of the committee include: the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, David Paradang, a Representative of the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police, Representative of the Comptroller of the Nigeria Prison Service, Representative of the Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corps and a Representative of the Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
Meanwhile, Maku said the Council members congratulated Mr. President over the successful inauguration of the National Conference on Monday.
He said, “Council noted that the speech of Mr. President at the inauguration has united Nigerians behind him. And has also reassured the people of Nigeria that not only will this government continue to do its best for corporate unity of this nation and it’s development and the harmonious existence of its diverse people, but that everything will be done to carry out the necessary reforms that will make our country run better, that will make our government produce better services and that will increase the unity and development and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We commended the President on the content of that speech because he gave the nation a clear direction as to where our leader believe that this country should be heading to in the next century of its own existence.
“We urged delegates to do everything possible to ensure that they conduct the debate in the conference in such a way as to bring out the best for the people of Nigeria as we seek to reform our country, as we seek to do our best in improving public service, improving governance and delivering services to the people of Nigeria”.