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Immigration exercise: Abba Moro blames doctors, nurses, bankers, teachers, others for stampede and death

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Interior Minister, Abba Moro has blamed last Saturday’s stampede at the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment centres across the nation on doctors, nurses, bankers, teachers and others in paid employment.

Abba Moro, Minister of Interior
Abba Moro, Minister of Interior

According to him, these already employed individuals thronged the various recruitment centres in their numbers.

No fewer than 19 applicants, including four expectant women, died in the stampede. Many others were injured.

Moro said though these categories of persons never applied for jobs with the NIS, they gate-crashed into the venues of the recruitment, with the hope of getting foreign postings and being pensionable if employed by the NIS.

Moro’s aide, Mallam Salisu Dantata Muhammed, who spoke on behalf of his boss in Abuja yesterday, said contrary to reports, the ministry put in place logistics to contain crowds at the centres.

He also blamed the social media for the stampede, saying that many of the applicants were inviting friends and relatives who did not apply for the job to the centres through Facebook, text messages and other portals.

Muhammed said: “It’s odd that many of those who turned up included employed bankers, engineers, medical doctors, nurses, teachers and others who wanted to cross over to the Immigration Services at all costs.

“The Minister and officials of his ministry considered last Saturday’s incident as very regrettable, more so as the unexpected huge crowd shattered the near perfect arrangements they had put in place against anticipated huge crowd.

“The Interior Ministry made adequate provisions for the expected mammoth crowd at the National Stadium meant to conveniently sit 75,000 people.

More than 45 percent of those who eventually turned up were not supposed to be at the centres.

“About 520,000 applied for the recruitment exercise across the federation. For instance, we had in our record that applicants totalling 68,000 were to be at the Abuja Stadium. But at the end, nearly 70 percent of non-applicants forced their way into the stadium.

“Apart from the committees that planned the exercise ahead, we had security personnel drawn from the Immigration, Civil Defence, Prisons, Fire Services and others to complement the Police. We made adequate preparations.

“But they overpowered the security personnel. Many of them got impatient and very desperate to get attention, and in the process, they began to climb and jump across impossible places in order to gain access to the stadium. That was the beginning of the stampede.

“The crowd got more desperate when they learnt that they could get foreign service postings and then become pensionable. So doctors, nurses, teachers, engineer, and all manners of people who had paid jobs turned up and increased our dilemma.”

The minister’s aide said the scathing criticisms that greeted the stampede were uncalled for, arguing that the critics did not bother to find out what caused the stampede.

According to him, the minister and top officials of the ministry have gone into special intercessory prayers, specifically for the applicants who died.

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