Recruitment Exercise: I have nothing to refund, no recruitment fee was imposed on applicants – Abba Moro
“I did not extort N700 million from helpless Nigerians who applied for employment in the ministry of interior, no recruitment fee was imposed on applicants,”
By Ehi Ekhator
The Minister of Interior, Abba Moro who conducted failed and deadly Immigration Service recruitment which led to the death of 19 applicants including 4 pregnant women on March 15, has sworn not to refund the N1000 paid by the job seekers for the exercise.
Moro, during the exercise gave the recruitment to an agency which was later discovered as unregistered company, the pre-recruitment online registration raised more than N700,000 from more than 710,000 applicants, nation wide for the test.
Nigerians reacted and requested for Moro’s removal after the fail test and President Goodluck Jonathan order its cancellation and ordered that a new test be conducted which he said will be overseen by the government.
Though, the Senate after thorough investigation into the incident, revealed several violations in its planning and implementation and till today, the report of the investigation is still awaiting.
Femi Falana, a Lagos-based lawyer has earlier ordered that Moro refund the money collected from the poor applicant, in a letter dated April 9, replied to Falana, Moro stated that he could not refund any money since he did not personally raise any.
Moro alleged that applicants were not forced to pay the money for recruitment fee before applying
He said “I did not extort N700 million from helpless Nigerians who applied for employment in the ministry of interior, no recruitment fee was imposed on applicants,”
He said that services of a consulting company became necessary in order to ease the bureaucratic bottlenecks associated with recruitment exercise.
He said “Media reports that he extorted money from poor applicants were “misrepresentations”,
“In order to achieve result an online Portal (website) was emplaced, applicants were then required to access the portal through the purchase of 1000 scratch card,” he said.
“For the records, neither I, not the ministry of interior, nor the Board of Civil Defence, Fire, Immigration and Prisons Services nor the Nigeria Immigration Service, was involved in the purchase of the scratch cards to access the portal,” he said.
“In fact, the board and the tenders’ board of the ministry of interior had approved that none other than the consultant should be involved in the process of purchasing the scratch cards and the processing of applications.”
As expected from Mr. Falana, he responded back to the Minister that he was responsible for the tragic exercise.
Falana said “Owing to the fact that you appointed a consulting company which extorted processing fee of 700,000 applicants you are vicariously liable for the actions of your agents including the tragedy which characterized the recruitment exercise,”
“Having publicly accepted responsibility for the loss of the precious lives of 20 of the applicants, you cannot turn round to wash off your hands like Pontius Pilate,” Mr, Falana said.
Falana reminded Moro that as a minister of government, he is not expect to convert funds extorted from job seekers as it is his duty to pay unemployment benefits to citizens.
“We have no alternative than to reiterate our demand for the immediate refund of the said sum of 7000,000 not later than April 18,” the letter reads.