Teddy Oscar, Abuja
The House of Representatives has summoned the minister of interior, Mr.Abba Moro, and the comptroller general of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), David Paradang, to appear before the committees on Labour, Employment and Productivity, Justice, Interior, and Public Service Matters, and explain what led to the stampede at the different venues of last Saturday’s nationwide aptitude test in which 21 of the applicants lost their lives.
The report of investigation, which is expected to be turned in within a two-week period, was sequel to a motion moved under matters of urgent importance by Hon. Steve Karimi while lamenting the high rate of unemployment among Nigerian youths condemned the recruitment exercise in its entirety.
Karimi regretted that only 20 percent were able to participate in the exercise, which had thousands of applicants as a result of poor organisation, despite the huge sum of money the service made from online application.
“They realised about N1 billion from the exercise, after selling recruitment forms at N1000 to each of the applicants. Since there were only 4500 vacancies, the organisation should have carried out the exercise in batches, or even embarked on Internet based test as a way of reducing the number of applicants. They were not interested in proper planning, but in what they will be able to get from the process,” Karimi stated.
He also urged the Federal Government to evolve a scheme that will reduce unemployment in the country, especially among the youths.
In her contribution, Hon. Nkoyo Toyo, who blamed the crisis on national structural issues, however, wondered why a para-military organisation like the immigration is not able to properly manage a crowd.
Hon. Leo Ogor, deputy majority leader, told the House that the time has come for a major reflection by everyone.
“It is very embarrassing to see over 60,000 people sitting in a stadium to struggle for a few job positions. The hour has come for us to look at the exclusive legislative list and consider devolution of powers from the federal government to the states in order to more employment opportunities at the state levels,” Ogor added.
Hon. Ahmed Babba-Kaita, who insisted that it was a deliberate effort to bungle the process as the only interest is to make money, urged the House to make sure that everyone found culpable in the exercise is brought to book.
Hon. Bitrus Kaze, while condemning the process, dissociated himself from the story making the rounds that members of the National Assembly have been given employment slots in the exercise.
The House also commiserated with the families of the deceased youths, and resolved that qualified relatives of the deceased be given automatic employment into the service.