The embattled Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro, has formally apologised to Nigerians, especially the families of those who died or were injured in the ill-fated Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment test of March 15, which went awry, leading to the death of over 16 job seekers.
Moro, at an interactive session with journalists at the weekend in Abuja to explain his role in the tragic recruitment exercise, said his intention was genuine but â€œunfortunately the exercise turned tragic.â€
However, despite his contrition, he dismissed calls that he should resign, adding that he would rather stay on to get to the root of the incident.
He said: â€œI think that I will ordinarily ask Nigerians for understanding in this matter; understanding the intention, understanding the motive behind the whole thing of an open, transparent recruitment exercise that is the first of its kind into the services of Interior Ministry that was intended primarily to give employment to Nigerians irrespective of their background, connections, contacts in government or the business circle.
â€œWe have taken responsibility over which we have expressed regrets and of course, asked Nigerians particularly the families of those that have lost their loved ones for some understanding because definitely it was not deliberately intended for people to go and die rather it was intended to provide an opportunity for those unemployed to get employed transparently.â€
According to him, as a father, he could not have deliberately embarked on an exercise that would lead to the death of unemployed youths who are also peopleâ€™s children, brothers, sisters and wives or husbands .
He reiterated his readiness to take full responsibility for the incident as the overseeing minister as â€œthe buck stopsâ€ at his table, adding that the tragedy â€œis a personal lost to him.â€
He however said despite taking full responsibility for the tragic outcome of the exercise, he would not heed the call to resign as he would rather stay on to be part of the solution to unravel the unfortunate incident, which he alleged could be â€œact of sabotageâ€.
â€œI have said it before that we were trying to organise an exercise and in the process it went awry of which we are trying to find solutions to the problem about what led us to this situation and how do we come out of it. I still believe that I can be part of the solution and so it is not in my character as I said before to run away from the problem that has arisen as a result of action or inaction of ourselves whether in public office or in private life.
â€œSo I still believe that my presence will certainly assist in unravelling the circumstances that have led to the death of these Nigerians and to proffer solutions to it not to happen again,â€ he said.
Moro also refuted the allegation that he had disagreements with both the board and NIS over the process of the recruitment exercise.
He said: â€œI am not a member of the steering committee and so I could not have disagreed with their suggestions when I am not a member, when I didnâ€™t attend the meeting and from the records that are available in the ministry and transmitted to me, which I approved, there is no indication of giving me an option that I would say I donâ€™t like this option or I like that option.
â€œIf you look at the presentation that I made to the Senate Committee on Interior, I did not subtract from the recommendation that was made to me and I did not add but I simply approved the request that was madeâ€.