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RIGHTSView: Immigration recruitment tragedy and a new ‘responsive’ President Jonathan

By News Express on 19/03/2014

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The earthly transition to the saints triumphant on January 13, 2014 of my beloved father and best friend, Mazi Cyprian Okorieocha Onwubiko, taught me that there are significant events that happen in our lives that have transformative value chain. His death has brought the meaning of immortality closer home to me and has instilled in me the discipline to embrace my religious belief with more conviction.

On a national scale, one issue that made impact in the corporate life of Nigeria is the mass murder through administrative mistakes by the Nigerian Ministry of Interior and the Nigerian Immigration Service of over 18 youthful Nigerian job seekers during the ill-fated March 15, 2014 recruitment exercise in all parts of Nigeria and especially at the Abuja National Stadium in which young and upwardly looking Nigerian youths in search of better lives were killed during stampede that was occasioned by poor coordination and crowd control.

The man who wears the shoes as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has since the sad incidents happened all across Nigeria, come under intense pressure to take action against the Minister of Interior and his subordinates at the Nigerian Immigration Service whose woeful negligence and criminal dereliction of duty resulted in the national tragedy that characterised the shabbily conducted aptitude test for recruitment into the Nigerian Immigration Services. Jonathan has reportedly summoned the duo to appear before him at the State House in Abuja whereby they were reportedly queried.

This ‘slap in the wrist’ approach of the President towards Mr. Abba Moro, the Minister of Interior, and the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service has received widespread condemnation from a cross section of Nigerians who felt that it is insufficient to deter future occurrence given that a similar recruitment fiasco happened few years back with the same agency of government which also cost the precious lives of young applicants but no single government official was sanctioned.

Prominent Nigerians and civil rights groups have called on the President to summarily sack the duo and all other top officials of government that not only bungled the recruitment exercise but clearly extorted the job seekers who were tricked into paying N1,000 application fee and the forms sold online to over six million applicants when it was clear to government that only four thousand job vacancies were available and that preponderant percentage of these job openings have been shared to state governors and the members of the National Assembly.

To compound the national insult created by this fiasco of a recruitment sham of the Nigerian Immigration Services the Chairman of the House committee on Immigration/Interior accused of cornering some of the job slots was quoted in the media to have stated that there was nothing untoward in allocating secretly job slots to favoured political office holders and he even had the temerity to insult our national psyche when he reportedly said that members of the National Assembly are also Nigerians and therefore should be given slots of job vacancies. What a shame!

It was therefore not surprising that most Nigerians don’t trust that the National Assembly members can competently and fairly probe a matter in which their hands were soiled deeply. Nothing good will come out of the decision of the two chambers to probe the stampede that led to this national tragedy that gave us international opprobrium.

It is in the light of the overwhelming evidence that most Nigerians are not happy that quick remedial actions are not been adopted by the Nigerian state that President Jonathan demonstrated that he has a milk of human kindness and can indeed act decisively contrary to the impression his seeming inaction over several national matters have created in the minds of most Nigerians.

Stories filtering out of the State House in Abuja say the President has ordered the cancelation of the ill-fated job interviews of the NIS and has also offered automatic employment of all the injured even as he allocated three slots to each of the families of the dead.

But are these measures far-reaching enough? If you ask me, I will answer in the negative because if the two persons who should take responsibility for this national shame are left in their jobs it therefore means that these young job seekers who were massacred died in vain.

The President should therefore go a step further by sacking the Minister of Interior and the Comptroller General of Immigration, order their prosecution for both acts bordering on official dereliction of duties occasioning deaths and aggravated injuries to many of the job seekers. Let section 6 of the 1999 constitution which gives the judicial powers of the federation to the court system be allowed to take its full course. Let the Federal Attorney General and the state Attorneys General whereby these job seekers died take action to drag the minister and the Comptroller General to court.

Section 33[1] of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides thus: “Every person has a Right to life and no one SHALL be deprived intentionally of his life save in the execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he/she has been found guilty in Nigeria.”

The full intent of this section is that the Nigerian state lacks the power to deprive law abiding Nigerians of their constitutionally guaranteed right to life. Indeed the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy is of the considered position that the welfare and security of every citizen is the primary duty of government.

RIGHTSVIEW appears twice a week on Wednesday and Saturdays. The Columnist, popular activist Emmanuel Onwubiko, is a former Federal Commissioner of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and presently National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).

Source News Express

Posted 20/03/2014 03:28:28 AM

 

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