Barring the spirited intervention of the Senate President, David Mark, the Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro, would have lost his job following the tragic aptitude and fitness test conducted by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) that claimed the lives of about 17 applicants last Saturday, THE CITIZEN has learnt.
It was reliably gathered that when the unfortunate incident occurred last weekend, the minister quickly reached out to his political god-father, Senator Mark, to plead with President Goodluck Jonathan who was said to be livid with the minister over the tardiness in conducting the ill-fated test.
Moro hails from Benue State, just like the Senate President, and was nominated to the ministerial position by the well-respected Mark.
“It was David Mark that saved Abba Moro’s job. Otherwise, he would have gone by now. The President and indeed the entire country felt very embarrassed by the outcome of the said test. Look at those who paid the ultimate price for seeking for jobs in their father land”, the highly-placed source disclosed.
According to the source, “the entire saga was squarely placed on the desk of the minister because he was the one who gave express approval for the hiring of the consultant without the approval of the legally constituted board of the para-military”.
THE CITIZEN was told that the board members were kept in the dark on the recruitment exercise, a fact that was laid bare before the Presidency and a decision was almost going to be taken to sack the minister before the timely intervention of the Senate President.
“Some aggrieved people in the Presidency argued that the entire episode was a shamble that ridiculed the present administration. It is unbelievable that people could conduct an employment test under such a bizarre arrangement in the country today. Look at the timing of the event. The said consultant is an unknown quantity as far as human resources consultancy is concerned in the country. No one has even heard of them. Above all, the candidates were forced to pay some fees,” the source added.
He further stated that to show that the President was not particularly happy with the minister, Moro was not included in the committee that was later set up by Jonathan to handle a fresh recruitment exercise.
It could be recalled that President Jonathan cancelled last Saturday’s recruitment process by the NIS and directed the conduct of a fresh exercise that will be supervised by a special committee headed by the Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), Mrs. Joan Ayo, to fill the vacancies in the NIS.
Other members of the special committee raised by the president to supervise the exercise included the Comptroller-General of the NIS, Mr. David Parradang, as well as representatives of the Inspector General of Police (IG), Comptroller of the Nigerian Prison Service (NPS), Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), and the Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Also, President Jonathan directed that except for the recruitments carried out by the armed forces, no other agency of government should engage in a recruitment process such as the type by the NIS that resulted in a tragedy.
In a bid to appease the families of the deceased applicants and those injured during the exercise, the President ordered that they should be given preferential treatment in the recruitment process.
He ordered that each family of the deceased persons should be allowed to provide candidates to fill three vacancies in the Immigration Service; one of the candidates must be a female.
Jonathan also ordered that the injured should be given automatic employment.