As his public image continues to receive bashing from Nigerians and the media following last Saturday’s shoddily managed recruitment test of the Nigeria Immigrations Service, NIS, which resulted in the death of scores of applicants, Minister of the Interior, Abba Moro on Thursday allegedly dangled N500, 000 each before a number of journalists to shore up his image.
Information Nigeria reports that at least 19 job-seekers died while many more sustained varying degrees of injury during a stampede at the National Stadium, Abuja and other venues nationwide, in the ill-fated recruitment exercise.
The death of the applicants led to widespread calls for the sack of the interior minister, with the likes of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) among others championing the cause.
Perhaps in apparent reaction to public anger, President Goodluck Jonathan canceled the exercise and ordered a refund of the N1, 000 application fees to the over 500, 000 that paid.
However, according to a report by Sahara Reporters, the embattled minister on Thursday evening made a move to bribe some journalists into deflecting some of the attention surrounding his name of recent.
“Minister of Interior, Abba Moro is at this moment meeting with select group of journalists to burnish his image with a promise of N500,000 each at Nugget Hotel, behind Chisco Transport Company in Utako”, a highly placed sourced divulged to the online news medium.
“This is for your information, please. I am very ashamed at the conduct of our journalists. Thanks”.
While the authenticity of the news source has not been verified, it is not news that some unscrupulous journalists are in the habit of dragging the reputation of the profession in the mud by accepting brown envelopes to deflect attention from individuals or groups in the spotlight or outrightly kill such stories altogether.
It would be recalled that Minister Moro in his reaction to the stampede, told a shocked nation that the impatience of the applicants led to their deaths.
“The applicants lost their lives due to impatience; they did not follow the laid-down procedures spelt out to them before the exercise”, he said in Jos, capital of Plateau State.
“Many of them jumped through the fences of affected centres and did not conduct themselves in an orderly manner to make the exercise a smooth one. This caused stampede and made the environment unsecured”.