Economic And Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has concluded plans to invite the immediate past Minister of Interior, Patrick Abba Moro to appear before it over his alleged role in the N650million fees collected from the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS job seekers ahead the botched exercise that was conducted across the country May 15, 2014.
A highly placed source at the commission yesterday told Nigerian Pilot that the letter of invitation of the embattled former minister is ready for dispatch.
According to the source, Moro alongside the consultant and the company that handled the entire exercise too will be quizzed by the anti-graft agency even as the top EFCC source disclosed further that the permanent secretary in the Interior ministry and three other serving directors are also to be interrogated as soon as their letters of invitation are sent out to them and the invitation is honoured.
The source further added that during the course of interrogation of the sacked former immigration boss, David Parradang last Monday at the EFCC, he allegedly cooperated with the operatives by giving them graphic details on how Moro brought “questionable companies” allegedly linked to the wife of a former Senate president among others to handle the recruitment exercise.
Parradang was on Monday quizzed for eight hours by the EFCC. Nigerian Pilot’s sources disclosed that the former NIS head was grilled over alleged N650million fees collected from job seekers last year.
“The EFCC invited Parradang to explain how much was collected and the whereabouts of the funds,” the source said.
About 6.5million job seekers applied for available 5,000 spaces with each applicant paying N1, 000.
The conduct of the test in March, 2014 led to the death of 15 applicants. Scores were injured in stampedes of varying degrees in Abuja, Port Harcourt and Minna.
Although the immediate past Minister of Interior blamed the former Comptroller-General for the incidents, those loyal to Parradang had earlier traced the tragedy to Moro.
“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 will also interact with Abba Moro very soon.”
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, could not be reached to confirm when former minister of interior will appear before the operatives of EFCC.
About two weeks ago, Moro said Parradang should be held responsible for the job tragedy.
He said Parradang abandoned the important recruitment for birthday parties in Jos.
The probe is coming barely three weeks after Parradang’s removal by President Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly recruiting over 1,000 officers in May without due process.
March 15, 2014, no fewer than 800, 000 Nigerian jobseekers trooped to stadia across the states and the Federal Capital Territory to write a recruitment test for 4,000 openings in the NIS. The exercise ended in a fiasco as about 23 applicants died in stampedes in the centres. Many others received injuries. The Presidency and the National Assembly took on Paradang, and Morro, for explanations.
The National Assembly promised to get to the root of the circumstances that led to the tragedy. A groundswell of evidences pointed in the direction of consultants, Drexel Technologies Limited, the outsourcing company engaged for the ill-fated exercise.
But the umbrella body of outsourcing companies in Nigeria, Human Capital Providers Association of Nigeria, said that investigations from the Ministry of Labour and Productivity saddled with the responsibility of issuing licences to outsourcing companies confirmed that it was not among the over 700 registered recruiter companies as at March 2014. Worse was the disclosure by Paradang, at the Senate committee’s public hearing, that the minister acted without carrying the management of NIS along in the exercise.
Those who benefitted from the injustice, mass murder and extortion of N1, 000 from each of these jobless youths should face the music.