The senate rejected calls for the removal of interior minister, Abba Moro
The Senate and the House of Representatives have ordered separate investigations into the death of more than a dozen job seekers at recruitment centres organized by the Nigeria Immigration Service Saturday.
About 18 job applicants died on stampedes after hundreds of thousands of people clogged at the venues for the screening across the country, sparking calls for the removal of the interior minister, Abba Moro, and head of the immigration, David Parradang.
Mr. Moro has accused the applicants of “impatience”, and said 520 thousand people jostled for about 4,000 openings.
The senate rejected calls for Mr. Moro’s sack, but mandated its committee on Interior to within one week, investigate the exercise and the circumstances that led to the deaths.
The senate also urged the Federal Government to come up with a `”marshall plan’’ to address Nigeria’s shocking level of unemployment.
Separately, the House of Representatives mandated its committees on Interior, Labour and Productivity, Public Service Matters and Justice, to conduct investigations.
Both houses will hold public hearings on the recruitment.
Senators spoke with rage about Saturday’s tragedy, and canvassed bipartisan support to tackle what they called a “national emergency”.
The chairman of the senate committee on interior, Atiku Bagudu, who raised the motion, said more than 700 thousand applicants were registered for the recruitment, and all of them charged N1,000, which was purportedly paid to a consulting firm.
“It is a security breach for a para-military organisation to contract a consultant for its recruitment exercise. This does not augur well for our national security,’’ said Abdulkadir Jajere said, a member from Yobe State.
APC Senators want minister dismissed
In an earlier statement, the caucus of the All Progressives Congress senators said the interior minister, Mr. Moro, should be immediately fired.
“We are calling on the Minister of the Interior, Hon. Abba Moro to resign his position, because he can’t be absolved from the activities that eventually led to this monumental tragedy,” a spokesperson for the caucus, Babafemi Ojudu, said in a statement.
The lawmakers lambasted the federal government for doing nothing about the growing unemployment and allowing its agencies to charge job seekers.
“Employment into government agencies has always been a social service and never a mercantilist aberration. But the President Goodluck Jonathan administration has redefined the concept, giving it a new, capitalist meaning altogether. It was hitherto unheard-of that government agencies would be requesting poor, unemployed youths to pay in whatever form before they could be offered employment.
The lawmakers also criticised the government’s failure to tackle unemployment.
“As in the past years since the current administration came into power, budgetary proposals for recurrent expenditure in the 2014 appropriation are three-quarters of the entire document. The budget is loaded with proposals for spending that are clearly frivolous – the Presidential fleet, travels and trainings, Office of the Secretary to the Federation, questionable welfare and purchases of computer software and vehicles, among many others. There are also repetitions of purchases that have become a yearly affair. So while the Executive has sustained its extravagance, attention to vital areas that could address the unemployment problem has direly suffered. So the problem has been inevitably degenerating,” the caucus said.