A former Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, David Paradang, has narrated how former Interior Minister, Abba Moro, reversed ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s directive to employ relatives of the deadly 2014 Immigration recruitment victims.
Mr. Paradang said the former minister described the employment of some family members of those who died in the stampede, as “illegal”.
Only those who were qualified for junior positions out of 45 total family members of 15 victims, were given jobs, he told a court trying Mr. Moro on Friday.
Mr. Paradang did not say the exact number of those employed. It was also unclear whether former President Jonathan was consulted by the former minister before the employment offers were cancelled.
Mr. Moro and four others are facing an 11-count charge of money laundering, arising from the conduct of the tragic recruitment.
They are accused of defrauding 676, 675 applicants of N676. 7 million being the aggregate of N1000 paid by each applicant to the recruiting agent, Drexel Nigeria Limited, a company Mr. Moro had ties with.
Despite the huge amount realized from applicants, the recruitment was poorly organised, resulting in deadly stampedes across the country.
Mr. Paradang, who is the first prosecution witness in Mr. Moro’s trial, told the Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday that after a presidential directive of employment to victims’ relatives, Mr. Moro ordered the withdrawal of offer letters.
“At the close of the day, we had 15 casualties and the office of the State Security Services later called to inform us that they were 165 persons injured nationally,” he told the court.
Soon after the compilation of names of victims, the service received an order from the presidency, which was flouted by Mr. Moro, Mr. Paradang said.
“Immediately after the letters were sent, the board (board of the Interior Ministry) asked them (the fresh applicants who were relatives of the deceased victims) to bring back the letters of appointment. The ministry said that the appointments given to them were illegal,” said Mr. Paradang.
Mr. Jonathan had ordered the immediate employment of three family members each victim, while a fresh recruitment was to be conducted.
The former president also handed out cheques of N5 million each to families of the deceased. It is also unclear whether the monies were cashed.