certainly not the best of
times for the immediate past Minister
of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, on
whom the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission (EFCC) has
slammed an 11- count charge bordering
on alleged procurement fraud and money
laundering. Charged along with him is
the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry at
the time, Mrs. Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia,
and three others.
Specifically, they are accused of
defrauding 676,675 Nigerian applicants
of N676,675,000 (six hundred and seventy
six million, six hundred and seventy five
thousand Naira) through a recruitment
process. The applicants paid N1000
each through an e-payment platform
for their online recruitment exercise
into the Nigerian Immigration Service. I
personally believe that this is not true. It is
only unfortunate that the exercise which
was meant to emphasise in recruitment
process turned sour. The issue of the
procurement process and pitfalls in the
presentations is a subject for future write-
It is debatable what the arrest and
detention of the former Minister of
Interior under the administration of
former President Goodluck Jonathan
was intended to achieve. There is a
groundswell of reasons why the surprise
move against Moro and others may have
further diminished the plummeting
image of the current administration. The
action raises the question as to whether his
current ordeals are not part of an alleged
grand design to castrate and decimate

eading lights within the opposition
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) camp.
Otherwise how can one explain the
rationale behind his current incarceration
in Kuje prison at the instance of the EFCC?
First, nobody questions the fact that
the ill-fated recruitment process by the
Immigration Service during his tenure
was a well-intentioned process that sadly
derailed along the way due to accidental
acts that were beyond the control of the
former Minister. The resultant tragedy
which rather unfortunately culminated
in loss of lives is not only painful and
unfortunate but an unforeseen act. It is
incontestable that if the recruitment exercise
had been a success story, the country would
have been better for it.
One can also recall that during the time
of the unfortunate incident when emotions
were very high, not a few people called for
the Minister’s resignation. But the Minister
had his reasons for not yielding to the spur
of the moment by throwing in the towel. By
opting to stay on his post, he was able to
play a leading role in remedying the ugly
situation. Mechanisms and processes were
put on steam to assuage and compensate the
bereaved families and the injured applicants.
Matter of fact, if the palliative plans have
not been exhaustively implemented till
date the logical thing for the incumbent
administration to do is to continue from
where its predecessor stopped rather than
make a scapegoat of former office holders
like Moro.
It is a well known fact that Nigeria has
for decades been facing alarming rate of
graduate and youth unemployment, with
the country’s percentage of jobless youths
being one of the highest in the world. Such
worrisome statistics were not created by
Abba Moro but nevertheless remain a sad
reality still staring our leaders and people
in the face. The former Minister was and is
not responsible for the scandalous rate of
unemployment in the country that resulted
in multitudes turning up at the various
recruitment centres.
Nobody denies the fact that the
unfortunate stampede which resulted in
the death and injury of tens of innocent job
seekers opened our eyes on the severity
of the unemployment saga in our land.
What the incumbent government ought
to devote its energy to are policies and
programmes that would create employment
and job opportunities for the millions of
school leavers roaming the streets without
productive engagement.
Chasing and persecuting the likes of
Abba Moro and hounding them into Kuje
prison cannot solve the problems at hand.
Indeed, there are many questions that are
begging for answers concerning the ongoing
persecution of Abba Moro: Why is his arrest
and subsequent detention coming barely a
week after his political god father and former
Senate President, David Mark of the PDP
defeated his All Peoples Congress (APC)
opponent, Daniel Onjeh in a bitterly fought
election for the Benue South Senatorial
seat? Why was Abba Moro singled out
for an orchestrated media trial and
public ridicule while the key actors in the
Immigration recruitment saga continue to
enjoy their freedom?
Those who know Abba Moro well are
unanimous that he is an upright gentleman
who cannot hurt a fly. He is also a very
modest person whose lifestyle is guided
by Spartan discipline. The question arises
as to why such a peace-loving and genial
man should be so crudely harassed and
hounded into prison for an alleged offence
that can hardly stand the test of time. It is
however worthy of acknowledgement that
the former Minister’s has been granted bail
on self recognition and we doff our hats
for the Presiding Justice of the High Court
for that sound judgment. No doubt, his
detention was anomalous and has further
lent credence to the allegation that the rave
of arrests and hyped up trials of a section
of the political elite is aimed at humiliating,
intimidating and silencing the leaders of
the main opposition PDP.
All considered, while Abba Moro Abba
Moro cannot be said to be a saint, he is
definitely not a villain. In the present
circumstance, he may well fit the bill of a
victim. He meant well for his country and
fellow citizens. It is unfortunate that lives
were lost following stampedes during the
aborted recruitment exercise but the current
haunting and detention of Abba Moro is
unjustified and reprehensible the issue of
the Procurement Process and pit holes in
this presentation so far will be addressed.
Mr. Osuji wrote from Mpape District,