A former Comptroller-General of Nigerian Immigration Service, David Shiafu Parradang, said Friday that former Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, broke every rule of recruitment into the Immigration Service in the March 15, 2014 recruitment exercise.
Parrandang said he was not officially informed of the recruitment exercise that turned tragic with the death of 15 applicants, even though he was head of the service at that particular time.
Parrandang, who was testifying as first Prosecution Witnes, against Abba Moro and three others in their roles in the recruitment exercise, said that he was not officially informed of the exercise, as ought to be, but got to know of the exercis through newspaper advertorial.
In a continuation of his testimony from Wednesday proceedings, the former Comptroller General said, the Ministry of Interior, headed then by Moro, did not follow any procedure in the recruitment.
He said: “As regard to procedural, we have been holding many exercises in the past, first we will collect applications, screen, shortlist and then setup a date for examination of candidates in their states of origin. After that we then mark papers and qualified candidates invited for physical screening. This is to see whether candidates have height and other requirements to enter paramilitary service. Then after that they will be subjected to physical exercise like standing for hours and other rigours of the job.
“But all these were not followed in the 2014 exercise”, he said.
He continued: “With implication of funds, we said when the Minister announced the date of the recruitment, we told him we were not ready financially. We had no money to fund the exercise.
“We then communicated this to the subcommittee on recruitment, and suggested whether the consultant that did the online reruitment (fourth defendant), that was engaged by the Ministry can fund the exercise. Based on that the subcommittee wrote a letter to the company that we did not have budget and asked if money collected by tne consultant will be used to fund the excersise.
“I was told by the company that it’s not in the agreement it signed with the Ministry and the money (N1,000 paid by each applicant) was for online services only and the company was not required to fund the recruitment.
“We came back to position zero and we decided that it should be brought to the knowledge of the Minister, whether he could convince the company to fund the exercise.
“The subcommittee submitted the report, thereafter we waited for a reply, there was no respond until 14 of March, a day to the exercise. I got a letter, writtenn on 13th March, that arrangements have bern concluded in respect of the recruitment on March 15 and that we should inform states accordingly.
“I thereafter called Secretary to the board for money for my officers. He asked me to tell them to forward their account numbers to him”, the former CG said.
However, the coordinates in each zone later called to tell him, that they got N300, 000 each, which they complained it will not be enough.
He said when he asked the Secretary to the board where the money came from he was told it came from the consultant.
But when he protested that the money was not enough for logistics like hiring of venue, ambulance to provide first aid, he was told the exercise must go ahead.
However, “Not too long the exercise started, I started getting calls that they were overwhelmed with the number of applicants, and I advised them to seek help from sister security agencies and keep me informed of further happening.
“Then on 16, while in Jos, I started receiving calls, SMS of the happenings and I went back to Abuja immediately to coordinate. I called them and asked them to back their complaints up with writing report. At the end we had 15 deaths and 165 injured, according to report by DSS”, Parrandang stated.
on the three slots given to deceased siblings and those injured, which the then President Goodluck Jonathan openly gave, the witness said it was later over ruled by the board, that said it was illegal.
“A year later, the President called us and those injured and siblings of those who died, three slots were openly given to each of them. Immediately after that President set up presidential committee for another recruitment exercise but the three slots to those earlier given were not part of this fresh recruitment.
“The letters earlier given by the President were withdrawn, the Ministry said it was an illegal recruitment”, he concluded.
The trial Judge Justice Nnamdi Dimgba later adjourned till July 1 for cross examination of the witness.
Moro and three others were accused of defrauding 675, 675 graduate applicants of about N675,675,000, having been made to pay N1000 each as processing fees for 5,000 (five thousand) job openings.
The four defendants were also accused of breaching the Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007 in the award of the contract for the organisation of the recruitment test to Drexel Tech Nigeria Ltd.