Friday, March 13, 2015 9:44 pm
Many months after President Goodluck Jonathan promised to employ family members of deceased applicants of the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, he finally fulfilled the promise on Friday by employing 33 selected members, three each from each of the families.
Some applicants, who had gone for the aptitude test organised by Federal Government agency in some states of the federation, after paying N1,000, ended up being killed in a stampede that followed at some of the venues of the test.
In the heat of the criticisms that followed, President Jonathan had promised to employ selected members of the families of the deceased.
On Friday in Abuja, the President presented letters of employment into the Nigerian Immigration Service to members of the 15 families who lost sons and daughters during the agency’s recruitment exercise last year.
At a brief ceremony in the Presidential Villa, President Jonathan gave letters of employment to 33 members of the bereaved families.
A statement by Reuben Abati, presidential spokesman, said employment had been offered to three members of each bereaved family, but some of the bereaved families are yet to present qualified members to take up the offer.
In his remarks at the occasion, the statement quoted the President as saying that he was deeply saddened by the death of their relatives in circumstances that were completely avoidable and unwarranted.
President Jonathan said that the Federal Government was fully committed to ensuring high standards for recruitment processes into the public service, and the provision of safety measures to avoid the recurrence of the March 15, 2014 incident which claimed many lives.
“Today is a sad day for all of us. First, let me convey our deepest condolences to the families who lost very young people during the recruitment exercise into the Nigeria Immigration Service.
“It is quite regrettable and we promise that such a thing will never happen again,” President Jonathan was quoted as saying.
He apologised for the delay in fulfilling the promise of employment to members of the bereaved families, explaining that employment into the public service must go through some processes.
Cheques for an undisclosed amount were also given to each of the bereaved families at the occasion.
“The cheque is not for compensation. You cannot replace somebody with any amount of money,” the President said.
Speaking on behalf of the bereaved families, Yunusa Imam thanked President Jonathan for the cheques and letters of employment.
“We thank you, Mr. President for the promises that you have kept. We are profoundly grateful,” Imam, a guardian of one of the victims, said.