. Jonathan cancels controversial test
President Goodluck Jonathan has cancelled last Saturday’s controversial Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment where about 20 applicants died across the country.He has also set up a special committee headed by the Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Deaconess Joan Ayo, to conduct a new recruitment to fill NIS vacancies at a yet-to-be determined date. Other members of the committee include, the Comptroller-General of NIS David Paradang, representatives of the Inspector-General of Police, Comptroller of the Nigeria Prison Service, Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
The Federal Government said three young members of the deceased families, one of which must be a female, are to be given automatic employment, so are all the injured currently receiving treatment in hospitals across the country.
Briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which lasted one hour and chaired by the Presidentyesterday, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said council members condole with the bereaved families and send their best wishes to those injured in the exercise which they described as ill-fated.
The President, according to Maku, has warned all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) henceforth not to embark on such exercise again with the exception of the Armed Forces and Police, warning that dare consequences await defaulters.
He said the entire meeting was dedicated to condolences to the bereaved families.
“FEC noted with grief and deep regrets the tragedy of those who died in the ill-fated Nigeria Immigration Service recruitment exercise. FEC in sending condolences to the families of the deceased and also in sending special wishes to those who are injured and receiving treatment in various hospitals in different parts of the country expressed total regrets that this tragedy took place at all.
“Council members were full of grief when the issue was discussed. We expressed our condolences to the President and Vice President and we indeed reassured Nigerians that all of us who have the privilege of servicing this nation at this time are feeling the pains with the families of our young ones who lost their lives. We reaffirmed our commitment to ensuring that this kind of tragedy does not repeat itself in this country”, Maku said.
The minister said President Jonathan has also directed that as soon as he returns from his trip abroad, he would meet with the bereaved families to express his personal condolences to them over the tragedy.
“He instructed all MDAs henceforth never to embark on any exercise of this nature in recruiting people into the public service, because what happened could have been avoided altogether.
“He has directed that henceforth no one outside the Armed Forces, Police, who usually recruit through physical exercises, no other MDA or department of government is allowed to embark on this type of exercise that we witnessed on Saturday.
“Our hearts go out to the families of the deceased, this nation is fully behind them, the grief is not their own, the grief is the grief of all Nigerians and the grief is the grief of the government and the people of Nigeria. We regret it and pray for the souls of those who have departed”, he said.
According to him, council noted that “it is regrettable that this took place at a time that every effort was being made by government to increase spaces available for employment. For example, last year, we were able to get 1.6 million employed in the various sectors of the economy and the public service. However, this incident is so painful to all of us and we will not want to see in this country young job seekers losing their lives in the process,” he said.
Meanwhile a source has confirmed that President Jonathan has warned that henceforth any minister found culpable in similar exercise where lives are lost, would not only be arrested but would be charged with murder.
Maku said the Council members congratulated Mr. President over the successful inauguration of the National Conference on Monday.
He said, “council noted that the speech of Mr. President at the inauguration has united Nigerians behind him. And has also reassured the people of Nigeria that not only will this government continue to do its best for corporate unity of this nation.