Posted by News Express | 7 April 2014 | 2,979 times
Victims of the botched Immigration Recruitment Exercise last night dismissed the reported apology of Interior Minister Abba Moro, insisting that he must appear in court to defend himself when the case comes up on April 22. They also demanded his resignation and warned him to stop politicising the tragedy.
Their position was contained in a statement issued in Lagos by their lawyer, Emeka Ugwuonye, Esquire, President, ECULAW GROUP and Founder, the Due Process Advocates (DPA), which is pursuing the case on behalf of the applicants. Ugwuonye said in the statement, a copy of which was made available to News Express:
“My attention has been drawn to the Leadership online news report on Minister Abba Moro’s apology to Nigerians in respect of the recent ill-fated immigration recruitment exercise. As Counsel to the victims, I bear an obligation to respond on behalf of the victims to avoid the confusion over the Minister’s so-called apology.
“For a start, the Minister did not apologise to the real victims of his scam-laden recruitment racket. Rather, the Minister apologised to those he felt he would apologise to. Indeed, the Leadership report captured Minister Moro’s apology accurately in the following opening
“ ‘The Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro, on Sunday, apologised to Nigerians over the recent botched Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment.’
“Mr. Abba Moro apologised to Nigerians at large, and he is certainly justified in that because his actions offended every Nigerian. You may recall that right after the incident, during the Executive Council meeting held on Wednesday, 19th March 2014, Mr. Abba Moro apologised
to his colleagues in the President’s Cabinet and the Presidency.
“Those, in turn, commiserated with and condoled the President for what happened. However, none of such demonstrations of crocodile regrets could amount to a show of remorse and true apology to the real victims, my clients. What is happening is the continued politicisation of this tragedy by Mr. Moro and his supporters within the Government.
“In the lawsuit we filed against Mr. Moro on this matter at the Federal High Court, Abuja, one of the reliefs we request the court to grant us is an order of the court, compelling Mr. Moro to apologise to the victims. We also request the court to order Mr. Moro to refund the N1,000 he obtained from each of the victims by false pretence. In the characteristic arrogance of Mr. Moro, he does not want it to be that the court ordered him to do anything. He thus comes up with these
false measures to preempt the court and interfere with the administration of justice. First, he and his backers in the Government offered to refund the victims their money just after Mr. Moro heard about our lawsuit. But they were not serious about that gesture because they did not state the manner and means of effecting such refund. And now, Mr. Moro is coming up with this sham of an apology just to mock his victims further.
“It is clear from the so-called apology that Moro did not mean to apologise to anybody. Instead, he is interested in ingratiating himself and trying to look good despite all that happened. Let’s pause for a moment and examine Mr. Moro’s words. He said:
“ ‘I want Nigerians to understand the motive and intention behind the entire process of an open and transparent exercise.
“ ‘This was the first of its kind in the ministry and it was intended primarily to give employment to Nigerians, irrespective of background and connections.’
“Nowhere in his words did Mr. Moro admit that he did anything wrong. And that is a key element of every apology. Also, he did not show any remorse, and he did not assure the victims that he would not repeat his conduct. Rather, Mr. Moro extols his actions as something that amounted to ‘an open and transparent exercise’. He further described what he did as wanting to ‘give employment to Nigerians, irrespective of background and connections’. But that is a big lie. Otherwise, how many children of Nigerian Ministers and Senators were among those that
suffocated and were trampled upon at the various stadiums on 15th March 2014? Mr. Moro knows that only the poor and unconnected Nigerians were victims of this botch recruitment exercise. So, he lies in his teeth when he claims he was out to do something for Nigerians
irrespective of connections and backgrounds.
“Mr. Moro must accept responsibility for his actions. He should start by resigning as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Until then, all he has been doing has been a desperate effort to justify his remaining in office as a Minister. His dishonesty and equivocations on this matter are now as laughable as they are disturbing. He knew because that was the group he targeted with his recruitment racket. To show Mr. Moro’s lack of seriousness, he first blamed this tragedy on the victims. And only recently, he rented some crowd to organise a solidarity march for him, again blaming the tragic events on the victims and those he claimed wanted to politicise the incident.
“Whether my clients would accept Mr. Moro’s apology depends on whether there is an apology to accept. As at this moment, Mr. Moro has not issued an apology to them and there is thus nothing for them to accept. We have a case that is pending in court. Mr. Moro has received notice to appear in court and he understands that he should be in court on April 22, 2014 to explain himself. That is the only thing on the table for the time being and that is the only thing we are focused on now.”
•Photo shows the victims’ lawyer, Emeka Ugwuonye.
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