A year after pledging jobs to families who lost loved ones during a deadly recruitment by the Nigeria Immigration, President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday, finally, handed out money and appointment letters to the beneficiaries.
Mr. Jonathan gave N75 million (N5million to each family) as well as employment letters to families of those who died in the botched exercise.
Fifteen applicants lost their lives in multiple stampedes across job recruitment venues across the country, as hundreds of thousands thronged the stadia used as examination venues, to vie for the jobs.
Despite the scandal that followed, as it became clear the Minister of Interior, Patrick Abba Moro, was behind the sloppy handling of the exercise, Mr. Jonathan has refused the fire the minister, a close ally of the Senate President, David Mark.
A Senate investigation into the matter confirmed that Mr. Moro singlehandedly selected a company to conduct the recruitment, violating government rules.
Worse, the firm, Drexel Limited, charged each of the more than 500,000 candidates, N1000, for the examinations they eventually did not write.
Mr. Jonathan retained the minister and also refused to order that the money be refunded.
The president merely cancelled the exercise and promised jobs to families of the victims.
Even that pledge has taken a year and public outcry to be fulfilled.
On Friday, each of the families of the deceased was handed a cheque of N5million naira each, while three family members were given employment letters.
Speaking shortly after, Mr. Jonathan said the incident will never repeat itself.
“I promise this country that such will not happen again. This will be the last of such things,” he said.
Mr. Jonathan said the money given to the families of the deceased should not be seen as compensation because it cannot replace the lives lost.
The Comptroller General of the Immigration Service, David Paradang, told journalists that out of the 45 candidates due employment beneficiaries, 10 had to be replaced because they did not meet the criteria of the service.
He explained that some of them were shorter than required, overweight or over-aged adding that the families of the 10 were asked to bring replacement for their slots.
He noted that some of those who are graduates were employed as Assistant Superintendent, those with National Certificate of Education, were employed as Assistant Inspectors, while those with the West African School Certificate, were employed as Immigration Officers 3.
The Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, said the government accepts the incident as an act that was not planned for.
He said those wounded in the exercise will not be forgotten adding that they will be included in the second phase recruitment which is ongoing till May.