- Moro, ex-CG, Perm Sec; others may be docked this week
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has concluded plans to quiz immediate former Senate President, David Mark and his wife, Helen over their alleged involvement in the botched Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS recruitment.
A highly placed source at the commission yesterday told Nigerian Pilot that former minister of interior, Comrade Abba Moro allegedly implicated the former senate president and his wife that it was their company that was allegedly given the consultancy job to handle the exercise.
According to the source, since Abba was picked on Monday he has been singing.
He said that apart from the former senate president, the former minister also fingered the immediate past Comptroller General of Immigration, Mr. David Parradang.
EFCC had on Monday arrested, quizzed and detained former minister of interior, Abba Moro, over his involvement in the botched immigration job scandal.
Also arrested by the EFCC for their alleged complicity in the scam were a former permanent secretary in the ministry of interior, Fatima Bamidele, and a deputy director, simply identified as Ibrahim.
A source at the EFCC said Moro and the others may be arraigned on a 12-count charge before the Federal High Court in Abuja today or tomorrow, alongside three others this week.
Nigerian Pilot gathered that Moro and the other suspects may be charged with false pretence, procurement offences, corrupt practices and money laundering.
According to a source at the EFCC, the former minister arrived at the headquarters of the anti-graft agency in the morning and was still being interrogated by a team of investigators up till yesterday.
According to the source, the commission will be approaching a magistrate court in Abuja to keep the accused persons beyond 48 hours as required by law.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, noted that the former minister will remain with the EFCC and be charged to court subsequently to answer to some of the charges that will be brought against him.
He also explained that the former permanent secretary was quizzed after investigations showed that he was involved in the botched immigration job recruitment scandal.
When the head of media and publicity of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, was contacted yesterday to confirm the report, his phone was not connecting.
Nigerian Pilot recalls that the EFCC had interrogated Moro last October over the March 2014 employment scam in the Nigerian Immigration Service.
The alleged scam, which led to the death of about 20 applicants in various recruitment centres across the country, involved the fleecing over 520,000 graduate applicants to the tune of N520 million after they paid N1, 000 each for limited job slots.
At least nine job seekers died on March 15, 2014 at the Abuja National Stadium while scrambling to secure seats for a recruitment test. The stampede ensued after the over 200,000 job seekers scrambled through a poorly organized barricade at the stadium.
In Port Harcourt, Rivers State, four applicants died from the stampede while 12 others sustained injuries and were rushed to Rivers government-owned Braithwaite Memorial Hospital. There were casualties in other centres across the country.
After the March 15 tragedy, several Nigerians demanded the resignation or dismissal and prosecution of Moro and the Comptroller-General of Immigration, David Parradang, for criminal negligence, involuntary homicide and fraud.
They were accused of putting in place a sham recruitment process that enabled the interior ministry to extort at least N520 million in compulsory levy imposed on applicants.
But Parradang had put the entire blame on the minister, saying his office had been side-lined. Nevertheless, President Muhammadu Buhari fired him as soon as he came to office.
The minister, who initially blamed impatience and refusal by applicants to abide by instructions for the tragedy, later accepted responsibility for the incident. He, however, refused to resign from office.
“The point at which we are now is not about resignation. That time has gone,” Mr. Morro said in response to a question over why he refused to quit. “At the time (people were calling for his resignation), I think emotions were very high. I was in the eye of a storm.
“At that time, a lot of options were on the table. The issue is, do you resign or do you stay to sort out the problems that had been created? I decided that staying and mopping up the mess caused by the lack of proper implementation of our plans was better. That’s the point we are now.”
The minister reasoned with Nigerians to consider the tragedy as an accident.
“I also have families. I didn’t set out on that journey knowing that accident would occur that would lead to the death of human beings. We took everything into proper perspective. If we had succeeded, a few Nigerians would have congratulated us for the job well done,” he had said.