NHRC Boss, 54 Eminent Nigerians Call For Minister, Comptroller’s Head Over NIS Deaths

Chidi-OdinkaluAbout 55 eminent Nigerians drawn from all walks of life, including senior lawyers and politicians, have called on President Goodluck Jonathan to sack the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro and the Comptroller –General of Immigration, David Parradang over Saturday’s death of some job seekers across the country.

No fewer than 19 applicants were reported dead across the country during a stampede that occurred at a recruitment exercise by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).

In a statement issued Sunday evening by the Chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Dr Chidi Odinkalu, but jointly signed by the 55 eminent Nigerians, they laid the blame for the shoddy handling of the exercise on Moro and Parradang.

They also urged the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Inspector-General of Police together with the Director-General of State Security Service to launch a joint criminal investigation into the deaths of the job seekers.

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They particularly faulted the Minister’s reaction to the incident, arguing that he ought to have sympathised with the families of the deceased rather than blame them for the unfortunate incident.

The statement reads: “On Saturday, 15 March 2014, hundreds of thousands of job-seekers attended job-seeking examinations organised by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in different centres in Nigeria to fill 4,556 vacancies. The NIS is supervised by the Ministry of the Interior.

“The Ministry and the NIS had compelled each job seeker, as an eligibility condition for participating in this hire process, to pay the sum of one thousand Naira (N1, 000). There is no evidence that these sums were remitted to the Federation Account as required by law.

“In most places, these job-seeking examinations took place in stadia, suggesting that the organisers anticipated large turn outs. Inexplicably, they failed to make adequate or any arrangements for crowd management and control.

“At different centres around the country, including Abuja, Benin, Kano, Minna, and Port-Harcourt, many job-seekers, including pregnant mothers, were killed and lots more were injured in stampedes caused by grossly negligent and uncaring ground arrangements.

“This tragedy was needless, foreseeable, and avoidable. The failures of the Ministry of the Interior and NIS to adequately manage the process and safeguard the safety and security of the jobseekers is inexcusable.

“The deaths that resulted from these failures, therefore, were unlawful. If the lives of Nigerians mean anything, the leadership and management teams in the Ministry of the Interior and the NIS must be held to account for these deaths.

“In his reaction to the deaths, Minister of the Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, accused the victims of ‘impatience,’ claiming that the deaths resulted because ‘they did not follow the laid down procedures spelt out to them before the exercise.’

“The effort by the Minister responsible for citizenship in Nigeria to blame the victims rather than take responsibility shows a callous disregard for the lives of Nigerians incompatible with his high Ministerial brief. It brings public service into disrepute.

“In the circumstances, we the undersigned, as citizens of Nigeria, respectfully demand that:

*The Minister of the Interior, Comrade Abba Moro; and the Controller –General of Immigration, Mr. David Shikfu Parradang, be immediately relieved of their positions;

*The Honorable Attorney-General of the Federation and the Inspector-General of Police together with the Director-General of State Security, should launch a joint criminal investigation into the deaths of these jobseekers;

*An independent audit should immediately be instituted into the monies made by the Ministry and the NIS from the jobseekers and criminal investigations should be commenced as appropriate;

*Government should demonstrate a readiness to address the problem of youth unemployment as a national security priority through a partnership involving the agricultural sector, public sector, private sector, voluntary sector, and multi-laterals.

“To the families across the country bereaved as a result of these and other on-going challenges in our country, we take this opportunity to transmit heartfelt condolences and pray for the peaceful repose of the souls of our deceased brothers and sisters”.

The statement was signed by former presidential candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention, NRC, in the 1993 presidential elections, Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa, Dr. Ayesha Imam, Dr. Jibrin Ibrahim, Dr. Ishiyaku Mohammed, Dr. Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi and Dr. Hussaini Abdu.

Others are Mr. Femi Edun, Dr. Abubakar Siddique Mohammed.

10. Mal. Abba Kyari

11. Dr. Kole Shettima

12. Mrs. Maryam Uwais

13. Prof. Ebere Onwudiwe

14. Mal. Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai

15. Hon. Yusuf Tuggar

16. Mr. Yemi Candide-Johnson, SAN

17. Alhaji Tajudeen Fola Adeola

18. Waziri Adio

19. Alhaji Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim

20. Iniruo Wills

21. Mrs. Ayo Obe

22. Yunusa Yau

23. Nasir Ladan

24. Dr. Jeremy Weate

25. Prof. Nsongurua Udombana

26. Dr. Charmaine Perreira

27. Saka Azimazi

28. Dr. Bibi Bakare-Yusuf

29. Mrs. Funke Adekoya, SAN

30. Jibrin Okutepa, SAN

31. Chief Ziggy Azike, KSC

32. Roland Ewubare

33. Mrs. Stella Ugboma

34. Prof. Ernest Ojukwu

35. Chukwuma Odelugo

36. Dr. Solomon Ebobrah

37. Afolabi Kuti

38. Mrs. Victoria Ibezim-Ohiaeri

39. Ms. Seember Nyagher

40. Dr. Joan Oviawe

41. Ikeazor Akaraiwe

42. Auwal Musa (Rafsanjani)

43. Doueyi Fiderekumo

44. Dakorim Boma Odunuga

45. Alaezi Nmezi

46. Dele Aloko

47. Mrs. Ozioma Izuora

48. Ms. Lola Shoneyin

49. Mal. Bilya Bala

50. Dr. Aliyu Modibbo

51. Uba Saidu Malami

52. Obinna Anaba

53. Ms. Wumi Asubiaro

54. Alhaji Suleiman Adamu

55. Mr. Obi Akaraiwe

 

 

 

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