Four persons acting for themselves and as representatives of those who participated in the ill-fated recruitment exercise conducted by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) have filed a suit against the federal government, seeking among others, a refund of their application fees.
They also asked the court to declare that the conduct or the execution of the recruitment exercise was illegal, unwarranted and in violation of the their fundamental rights to life.
The plaintiffs, who filed the suit at the registry of the court, brought the application under Sections 33,34, and 44 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the equivalent articles of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right.
Also joined as respondents in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, the NIS and its Comptroller General, David Shikfu Parradang.
The applicants, Charles Ugwuonye, Friday Danlami, Chinedu Onwuka and Samson Ojo through their counsel, Emeka Ugwuonye, among other want the court to declare the recruitment exercise illegal and restrain the NIS from spending the money realised from the recruitment exercise.
They also want the court to order the respondents to refund the recruitment money back to the applicants, pay the sum of N1million to each applicant and N50million to deceased applicants as general damages.
They ask the court to declare that the conduct or the execution of the recruitment exercise is illegal, unwarranted and in violation of the applicantsâ€™ fundamental rights to life, right to protection from inhuman and degrading treatment, right to dignity of the human person, right against discrimination on the basis of the circumstances of birth and right against unlawful taking of the property of a person; under Sections 33, 34, 42 and 44 of the Constitution (as amended), and the equivalent Articles of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
The applicants prayed for an order declaring that the respondents, particularly the Minister of Interior and Comptroller General of the NIS owed a duty of honesty and candor to them regarding the true purpose and intention behind the exercise.
The court was also asked to declare that the respondents, particularly the Minister of Interior and the Comptroller General of the NIS have a duty to superintend the recruitment exercise in a safe and healthy manner with due consideration to lives and wellbeing of those who applied for or participated in the exercise.
The applicants further want an order declaring that the NIS 2014 recruitment exercise was carried out in a manner that was motivated by greed and corrupt intentions and without any realistic plan to offer the applicants employments.
Also they want an order declaring that the respondents do not have the power to appropriate any funds raised by them from the recruitment exercise but must remit such funds to the Federation Account.
The applicants further want court to grant an order of interim injunction restraining the respondents from spending any of the funds raised from the recruitment exercise and an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from spending any of the funds raised from the exercise. They also want the court to direct the respondents to refund each applicant the sum of N1,000 which they paid to participate in the exercise and also an order directing the respondents to pay general damages in the amount of N1 million to each living applicant for the violation of their rights.
The court was also asked to make an order directing the respondents to pay general damages in the amount of N50 million to each person who lost his or her life during the exercise.
In addition, the applicants want the court to make an order directing the respondents to issue a written apology to them.
The apology should be published in five Nigerian newspapers and on the main website of the NIS.
In a 45-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Chris Ebosie, the applicants averred that in or around September of 2013, the NIS placed an advertisement, titled â€œNigeria Immigration 2014 Recruitment Exerciseâ€, on its website:
http://www.immigration.gov.ng<http://www.immigration.gov.ng and several Nigerian newspapers.
They further averred that the said advertisement did not describe in a clear manner specific qualifications for the vacancies available and it did not indicate the number of vacancies available, but it merely encouraged anybody with qualifications greater than secondary school education to apply online through a website it designated for that purpose.