The Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, on Monday explained why he is yet to leave office seven months after he masterminded a poorly organised recruitment exercise that killed no fewer than 20 applicants in stampedes at overcrowded venues across the country.
After the March 15 tragedy, several Nigerians demanded the resignation or dismissal of Mr. Moro and the Comptroller-General of Immigration, David Parradang, as well as their criminal prosecution for involuntary homicide.
The duo, with Mr. Moro more culpable, had put in place a sham recruitment process that enabled the interior ministry to extort at least N520 million in compulsory levy imposed on applicants.
The minister, who initially blamed impatience and refusal by applicants to abide by instructions for the tragedy, has since accepted responsibility for the incident.
He has however refused to step down.
But speaking on a Channels TV’s breakfast programme, Sunrise, on Monday, Mr. Moro made it clear he would not resign, saying he would rather stay put in office to clear the mess caused by the incidence.
“The point at which we are now is not about resignation. That time has gone,” Mr. Morro said in response to a question over why he refused to quit despite widespread calls by Nigerians on him to do so. “At the time (people were calling for his resignation), I think emotions were very high. I was in the eye of a storm.
“At that time, a lot of options were on the table… The issue is do you resign or do you stay to sort out the problem that have been created?
“I decided that staying and mopping up the mess caused by the lack of proper implementation of our plans is better. That’s the point we are now.”
The minister said Nigerians should consider the tragedy as an accident which he too did not plan for or envisage.
“I also have families. I didn’t set out on that journey knowing that accident would occur that would lead to the death of human beings.
“We took everything into proper perspective. If we had succeeded, a few Nigerians would have congratulated us for the job well done.
“But now that accident has happened, we will learn from what happened,” he said.