Reps move to probe NIS aptitude test mishap

on   /   in News 2:47 am   /   Comments

…To investigate Kaduna killings

BY EMMAN OVUAKPORIE & LEVINUS NWABUGHIOGU

ABUJAThe House of  Representatives, yesterday, resolved to probe the circumstances surrounding the death of 21 job applicants  during last Saturday aptitude test for recruitment into the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS.

NIGERIA, Abuja : Job-seekers applying for work at the Nigerian immigration department scramble as their exam papers fly in the air, on the pitch of Abuja National Stadium, on March 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO

It also resolved that families of the victims should be given automatic employment, provided they were qualified.

The House also mandated its Committee on National Security and Public Safety to investigate last Saturday’s killings of over 100 residents in a Southern Kaduna village, directing the committee in plenary to carry out the assignment within two weeks and report back.

These came as the Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro and Comptroller General of Immigration, David Parrandang, were also summoned to explain their roles in the aptitude test tragedy.

Four committees, including those on Interior, Justice, Public Service Matters and Labour and Productivity, were mandated to investigate the matter and report to the House within four weeks.

This development was sequel to a motion brought to the floor of the House by Sunday Karimi, PDP, Kogi State, under matters of national importance.

In the motion, entitled, ‘Tragedy at 2014 immigration exercise in which one million  Nigerian youths scrambled for 4,500 job placements,’ Karimi had given a graphic detail with figures of how the aptitude test was conducted in almost all the state capitals.

He said:  “On March 15, 2014, over one million Nigerian youths trooped into all the nation’s state capitals and other major cities to participate in the 2014 Nigerian Immigration Service recruitment, for which the Service had in September, 2013, advertised positions into it and had obtained N1000 as application fee from each of the applicants.”

He explained that in Lagos alone, about 70,000 youths showed up at the stadium for the test, adding that in Ibadan, the Liberty Stadium played host to about 20,000.

According to him, .the 60,000 capacity National Stadium in Abuja was over-crowded with 70,000 youths, while 25,000 candidates showed up like a sea of heads  at llorin Stadium in Kwara State.

Karimi said:  “In Benin, at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, 26,000 youths trooped in all in a bid to write the aptitude test.

”The Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano played host to 15,800; Benue, 17,800 and Port Harcourt, about 23,000 candidates.

”Despite the crises and insecurity in the North East, Gombe and Borno State played host to about 5,000 applicants each, while in Sokoto State, 10,000 applicants participated in the exercise.

”This resulted in chaos and stampede in all the centres and several persons were reported dead and many more critically injured. At least, about 21 deaths were reported.

”In Benin, three pregnant women lost their lives;  in Abuja, eight candidates, including two men and six women, died at the venue.

“In Port Harcourt,  five corpses, including that of a pregnant woman, were recovered at the scene. In Calabar, Ogun, Lagos and at many other centres, candidates, all in a bid to secure a white collar job, were flogged and abused by security personnel. Many slept at the venues, a night preceding the exercise.

”An unrecorded number of Nigerians had lost their lives in motor accidents on their way to the test centres.

“The National Bureau of Statistics ,NBS, states that 54 per cent of Nigerian youths are unemployed and puts Nigeria’s total unemployment at 23.9 per cent.

Karimi had in his motion, prayed the House to condemn unequivocally, handling of the recruitment of the Nigerian Immigration Service of March 15, 2014, and commiserate with the families of applicants who lost their lives and also empathise with those who suffered injuries as a result of the exercise.

He also said the Comptroller General of the Immigration Service and the Minister of Interior must appear before the House to explain the unwieldy recruitment of March 15, 2014, adding that the Federal Government should work in conjunction with state, local governments and public spirited individuals and organisations to evolve a job creation scheme that would best address the unemployment situation in Nigeria.

He canvassed a micro-credit scheme, Nigerian Youth Empowerment Programme, to assist Nigerian youths keenly interested in handcraft and small businesses, in order to, at least, immortalise those who lost their lives.

The  Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, at this juncture, called for debates on the issue, but members sought an amendment that the Committee on Human Rights should be dropped for Labour and Productivity and this was carried.

Also, Jerry Alebiosu added that families of the victims should be given automatic appointment.

Though members received it coldly, the Speaker, sensing it might be dumped, explained to them a second time and it was amended that victims’ families should provide replacements, provided they were qualified.

The issue of a micro-credit facility was not touched and Tambuwal explained that it was not included.

Speaking exclusively to Vanguard, the Minority Leader, Gbajabiamila, said the action of NIS at collecting money from job seekers amounted to fraud, which negated the spirit and letters of Section 419 of the  Criminal Laws.

Said he: “What the NIS did was to obtain money by false pretence, contrary to section 419 of our criminal laws. Whoever is responsible must be treated and punished as we would a 419ner.

“To make matters worse, I am not aware that the revenue realised was considered as part of the revenue profile of the agency or the country when the 2014 budget was submitted.

“ I am saddened by this occurrence and dismayed that the Minister’s statement that those who died were to blame for their conduct, if true, showed no trace of humanity.

”It is obtaining by false pretense when you take money from 520,000 people without telling them up-front there was limited vacancy for just 4,000 people, half of which had already been given to cronies and preferred candidates any way.”

He stated the exercise was a proof to the alarming rate of unemployment in the country.

Meanwhile, the House has mandated its Committee on National Security and Public Safety to investigate the killing of over 100 people in a Southern Kaduna village.

In a motion under  matters of national importance, moved by Gideon Gwani ,PDP, Kaduna, the House lamented the incessant killings of innocent citizens in the Southern Kaduna.

He noted   in his motion   that “since 2011, various communities in Kaura Federal Constituency have been targets of attacks by armed gunmen, causing deaths, injuries and destruction.”

Gwani In   a motion under  matters of national importance, moved by Gideon Gwani ,PDP, Kaduna, the House lamented the incessant killings of innocent citizens in the Southern part of Kaduna.

He noted   in his motion   that “since 2011, various communities in Kaura Federal Constituency have been targets of attacks by armed gunmen, causing deaths, injuries and destruction.”

Gwani   said before last Saturday’s spate of   killings, seven members of a family were murdered in their house on February 1, 2014, with houses and property destroyed  and assorted grains of food stolen.

”Again on the night of Friday, March 14, 2014, to the early hours of Saturday, March 15, 2014, a massacre took place at Bondon village of Moroa, leaving behind 123 people dead, including children, women, men, aged, physically challenged people and many injured, with over 240 buildings destroyed and assorted grains of food with other valuable items stolen,” he added.

”Again on the night of Friday, March 14, 2014, to the early hours of Saturday, March 15, 2014, a massacre took place at Bondon village of Moroa, leaving behind 123 people dead, including children, women, men, aged, physically challenged people and many injured, with over 240 buildings destroyed and assorted grains of food with other valuable items stolen,” he added.

 

 

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