For about eight hours yesterday, a former Comptroller General of Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, Mr. David Parradang, was grilled by detectives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The former Immigration boss was questioned over alleged N650million fees collected from job seekers last year during the service’s ill-fated recruitment exercise.
The EFCC invited Parradang to explain how much was collected and the whereabouts of the funds.
It would be recalled that about 6.5million Nigerians applied for 5,000 spaces in the NIS in different centres across the country. The conduct of the test in March, 2014 led to the death of 15 applicants while scores were injured in stampedes in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Edo and Minna.
Each job seeker paid N1,000 as application fees.
The unfortunate incident led to accusations and counter-accusations between the immediate past Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, who blamed the former Comptroller-General for the incidents, while Parradang absolved himself, claiming he was sidelined in the recruitment process.
Parradang’s probe is coming less than a month after he was sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly recruiting over 1,000 officers in May, allegedly without due process.
A highly-placed source, who spoke in confidence about Parradang’s invitation by the anti-graft agency, said: “The ex-Comptroller-General came to the EFCC headquarters at about 10am and as at 6pm, he was yet to leave.
“Upon arrival, he was ushered into an office to meet with a team of investigators, who insisted on a written statement.
“Parradang was invited by the EFCC to explain the circumstances behind the fees charged, the law backing it, the account where the money was paid into, what the cash was used for and the balance.
“This is just the first step in the ongoing probe of the jobs scandal. We are going to invite officials of the Ministry of Interior and the Prison and Immigration Board and the company engaged for the recruitment.
“A verification of the company is already done at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
“We may also interact with Abba Moro if it becomes expedient to do so. But at present, we are grilling Parradang”.
The source added: “We did not receive any petition from any person or group. This commission went into the case on merit.We have been on it for a while”.
The Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed that Parradang indeed appeared before a team of investigators, following ongoing probe into last year’s immigration recruitment scandal.
About two weeks ago, Moro resurrected the ghost of the NIS recruitment tragedy when he leveled fresh allegations against Parradang, saying the former Immigration boss abandoned the important recruitment for birthday parties in Jos, Plateau State.