Despite the embargo placed by the Federal Government on recruitment into the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), the agency may have commenced a secret exercise to recruit hundreds of applicants allegedly sponsored by politicians.
The embargo followed the failed 2014 recruitment exercise during which about 20 applicants died due to suffocation and stampede caused by flawed crowd control mechanism across many centres in the country. The national uproar generated by the incident is part of the reason the then Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, is facing criminal allegations for which he has been remanded in prison.
The former minister is essentially standing trial in a case instituted by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on allegations of defrauding 676,675 applicants the sum of N676,675,000 being the summation of the N1000 paid by each applicant that participated in the recruitment exercise.
Since the unfortunate incident and following government directive, neither the NIS nor the Interior Ministry has announced any fresh recruitment exercise, thereby raising suspicion about the on-going exercise at the Immigration Training School in Kano. About 500 applicants suspected to have been recruited secretly by Nigeria Immigration Service for cadet cadre are currently undergoing training at the NIS school in Kano, The Guardian learnt.
It was gathered that the recruited cadets started training at the Immigration school on March 7, 2016 after their deployment from the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.
Observation at the NIS training school in Kano shows men and women of between 30 and 35 age bracket undergoing regimental exercise. The cadet’s population may have overstretched the capacity of the training school’s hostels as some of the classrooms were converted to temporary hostels to solve the problem of accommodation.
A source at the training school told The Guardian that the secretly shortlisted applicants were products of strong political interest in the country. “Honestly, this particular recruitment is strange to us here because we just received the applicants from Abuja for training, nobody is aware how and when the applicants applied for the job. Ordinarily, recruitment exercise in the immigration service and even in all Federal Government agencies are made public. You will see vacancy in the dailies to enable every interested person to apply, but this particular exercise is unique,” the source said.
One of the cadets at the training school, who hails from South West region, confirmed that his being shortlisted was facilitated by a member representing his constituency in the House of Representatives. He said: “ I was shortlisted by the special grace of God, and the support of our honorable in Abuja for this opportunity. We were told to report to Kano training school on March 7 for the exercise before they will later post us to various states. That was what they told us.”
The Guardian learnt that the training exercise would last three months for those with National Diploma while applicants with Higher National Diploma as well as those with degrees would remain for the regimental exercise for six months.
Contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the school, a Chief Superintendent of Immigration, Mrs. Amina Nqua Habiba Aliyu, denied knowledge of any fresh recruitment into the service. She maintained that the school is only mandated to receive applicants for training but would not be responsible for explanation on the category of their recruitment exercise.
Amina, who said she was only aware of the Federal Government’s approved recruitment of 5,000 fresh cadets into the system, however, noted that the directive had not been executed.
On whether those who are presently undergoing training were recruited secretly or on special consideration, the spokesperson declined further comments, referring the reporter to the Immigration headquarters for more clarifications.