The Federal Government has been dragged to court over the ill-fated Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) employment recruitment which claimed lives across the nation.
The suit, being handled by a consortium of lawyers on pro-bono basis (free-of-charge), led by Funke Adekoya, will be heard by the Federal High Court in Abuja.
In the writ of summons, the plaintiffs, Patience Nonye Omezie and Kasim Yusuf Suleiman, are seeking a declaration that the defendants acted in negligence and in total disregard to the sanctity of lives of over 520,000 Nigerians who were invited for job interview and screening by the NIS.
Defendants are the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (first defendant) Attorney-General of the Federation (second), Interior Affairs Minister, Abba Moro (third), NIS and its Comptroller General, David Shikfu Parradang (fourth defendant).
Omezie is a Management & Accounting graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, who had been unemployed for five years, while Suleiman is a 2010 unemployed graduate of the University of Jos.
Adekoya will lead Messrs J. S. Okutepa and former NBA first Vice President, Ikeazor Akaraiwe, in the matter.
The plaintiffs, suing in a representative capacity, are also seeking a declaration that the sum of N1,000 collected from all the job applicants at the instance of the defendants was not only unlawful and contrary to the Public Service Rules and Regulations, but that it constituted a breach of the constitutional and statutory duties the defendants owed Nigerians, including the over 520,000 Nigerians who sought to be employed into the NIS.
They are also asking the court to declare that the minister as “not a fit and proper person to hold public office in Nigeria, with regard to his callous statement that Nigerians who died and those who were injured during the stampede resulting from the job interview and exercises on March 15, 2014 were impatient and that the applicants did not follow laid down procedures.”
Accordingly, the plaintiffs seek an order of court directing the defendants to account for and repay to all the job applicants who applied for and paid to be employed into the Nigerian Immigration Services all such monies, noting that such payment was illegal, unconstitutional and contrary to public policy and good conscience.
In her statement on oath, Omezie claimed that “as we were rushing into the stadium, I overheard one of the officials of the fourth defendant telling some young men that only 500 slots was allocated to Lagos State and that 200 of the slots have been given to senators and ‘ogas at the top’ etc.”