A former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Interior, Anastasia Nwaobia, was not “actively involved” in the 2014 deadly recruitment by the Nigeria Immigration Service that claimed more than a dozen lives, a former head of the service told a court on Thursday.
Mrs. Nwaobia is facing trial alongside a former interior minister, Abba Moro.
Mr. Moro is accused of defrauding hundreds of thousands of job seekers, who paid N1, 000 each for the recruitment test.
Despite raising nearly a billion naira, the tests were poorly organised at different centres across the country, resulting in deadly stampedes.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, said a part of the proceeds of the recruitment fees was used for buying choice property in Abuja.
The anti-graft agency charged Mr. Moro alongside Mrs. Nwaobia; a deputy director in the ministry, Felix Alayabami; and a company, Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited.
But Mr. Paradang, who is a witness in the case, told a federal high court in Abuja on Thursday that Mrs. Nwaobia and the deputy director had left the interior ministry before the recruitment.
He said this during cross-examination by a lawyer, Frank Ikpe, representing the former permanent secretary.
“Do you recall that by September 2013, it would be about three months the Permanent Secretary (second defendant) was transferred to a different Ministry?” Mr. Ikpe asked the former Comptroller General.
“Now I know. If she left in July, I agree that she had left the Ministry before the implementation began”, he answered.
Mr. Paradang also said the second (Mrs. Nwaobia) and third defendants (the deputy director) were not signatories to the contractual agreement with Drexel Nigeria Limited, the company which conducted the recruitment.
The counsel to the fourth defendant, Sunday Ameh, however prayed the court for an adjournment to allow him put his questions in order.
Mr. Ameh explained that he had a long list of questions and that some them had been overtaken by other lawyers during previous questions and answers in court.
He therefore asked the court for time to sort his questions.
The judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, adjourned the matter till Friday.