Few weeks after the tragedy that marred the planned Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) aptitude test in various parts of the country, the office of the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, and NIS management are currently enmeshed in a blame game over who is responsible for the shoddy arrangement that claimed the lives of 17 people in the stampede.
As officials of the ministry and those of NIS continued to shift blame over the unfortunate incident, stakeholders who testified at the Senateâ€™s one-day public hearing on the recruitment exercise alleged a breach of recruitment principles, on the ground that the contract for the March 15 NIS recruitment test which ended in fiasco was not advertised as required by Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
Tempers flared yesterday when the Special Assistant to the Minister of Interior on Immigration, Mr. Ime Unawo Nta, faulted a recent interview captioned â€˜NIS Recruitment Programmed to End in Disasterâ€™ purportedly granted by the Public Relations Officer of NIS, Mr. Chukwuma Obua, in two national newspapers.
Nta also drew the attention of the Senate Committee on Interior to the fact that the said interview implied that their powers has been usurped despite the fact that the matter was still pending before them.
Reacting to the alleged criticism of the minister by the spokesperson for Immigration service in the interview, Nta said it was â€œmorally reprehensible and totally unacceptable for an officer under a para-military outfit within the Interior Ministry to have undermined the office of the Minister by bringing same to public ridicule with his uncouth comments in a matter still pending before the senate committee on Interior.â€
According to him, for the NIS image maker to have concluded that the NIS recruitment was programmed to fail, â€œObua needs to tell Nigerians the role he played in the said exercise as an observer who was posted to Ogun State.
He wondered why Obua should be telling Nigerians that they were only informed about the exercise within 48 hours.
â€œMaybe he has forgotten that he was at a media parley with the Comptroller General of Immigration on Wednesday, March 6, where the GCI said the recruitment exercise will take place on Saturday, March 15, 2014â€, he noted, adding that the ongoing investigation by the National Assembly will expose those behind the ugly incident.
Meanwhile, findings from the Senate committeeâ€™s sittings indicated that the Ministry of Interior may have breached the law amidst the revelations that the contract was not advertised as required by Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
One of the nine essential steps in public procurement is transparent prequalification / tender. However, Messrs. Dexel Technologies Nigeria Limited, the consultant which handled the ill-fated recruitment, at the Senate sitting admitted the contract was not advertised.