In an unprecedented move, the like of which has never been witnessed before in recent memory, the family of the embattled Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro, have tendered apology to Nigerians over the recent death of 19 applicants during the stampede which ensued at the botched recruitment exercise conducted of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
They however affirmed that if the consultancy firm – Drexel Nigeria Ltd., had done a good job, the unfortunate incident would have been averted.
A statement issued on Sunday in Abuja by the Spokesperson of the family and Nephew to the Minister, Mr. Major Agbo urged Nigerians to “exercise patience to enable the investigation panel come out with findings as to what really went wrong”, adding that the outcome would go a long way to avert future reoccurrence.
They said, “We strongly share this moment of grief and pains with the immediate families of all those who lost their lives during the ill-fated recruitment exercise and beg Almighty God to comfort all parents, brothers, uncles and siblings of the deceased applicants while asking Him to give them eternal test in His bossom.
“We know that no words, no matter how solemn, coming from the family will be enough to atone for these loss suffered by the immediate families of the deceased applicants but we will still beg for the understanding of Nigerians to enable the ministry carry out proper investigation into this tragedy and tell Nigerians what really went wrong”.
The Moro family stated noted that while they do not want to be in a hurry to indict the consultancy firm that handled the exercise in order not to preempt the investigative panel already in place, they will at the interim “condemn the shoddy and clumsy fashion with which the exercise was conducted”.
Agbo said, “If the consultancy firm had done its job properly, it would have carried proper online screening of the applicants with the aim of pruning down the size that would be invited for the screening exercise having in mind the existing vacancies.
“The Honourable Minister is a member of the family and known seriously for his respect for sanctity of lives of people and cannot in anyway, celebrate the death of any human being as being insinuated in some quarters, but will however show respect for the opinions of individuals who have painted him in different light other than what we know about him”.
The family observed that the incidence, though unintentional, appears to be eroding the numerous positive achievements Moro has recorded in the ministry since his assumption of duty as minister.
He said, “Once again, we plead for the understanding of all those who lost their dear ones in this incidence to show understanding as God knows better what has happened.
“Our heart, as a family is with you and we strongly believe that God almighty will comfort you during this period of grief. We are with you in prayers now and always. God bless Nigeria”.
According to Agbo, the embattled minister has written his name in gold as one of the best local government chairmen in Benue State where he hails from and the country in general, “having served as ALGON chairman in Benue and having received numerous awards as best serving local government chairman in the federation in the past”.
He added, “The Honourable Minister has over time, been known as a man of integrity, honesty, dedication to duty, thoroughness, commitment and we are still at a loss as to what probably may have gone wrong with this exercise.
“As the Head of the ministry, the task of overseeing the conduct of the exercise rested strictly with the Minister through the CG of NIS; what happened at the field did not reflect the numerous assurances received by the Honourable Minister from the consultants that all was going on smoothly”.
The family expressed appreciation to the Federal Government for coming up with some form of palliatives ranging from employment opportunities for immediate family members of deceased applicants as well as automatic employment for all injured applicants across the federation “even though we are aware that such gestures cannot bring back to life, all those who died in the tragedy”.