The trial of the former Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro, has been stalled following objections raised by the defence team over the admissibility of a document by the prosecutor.
Mr Moro is facing charges of corruption before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
At the resumed trial, the prosecutor attempted to tender a document through a witness, but the defence team raised objections saying the original copy of the document should be tendered.
Following arguments by both counsels on the admissibility of the document, which is a letter written by a former Comptroller General of Immigration, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba adjourned the trial to June 10, 2016.
Mr Moro and four others are facing an 11-count charge of money laundering.
They are accused of defrauding 676, 675 applicants of the sum of n676, 675, 000, being the aggregate of N1000 paid by each applicant to Drexel ahead of the recruitment exercise which claimed the lives of some job seekers.
A new visa policy abolishing re-entry visas to legal resident expatriates in Nigeria has been announced by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
The development implies that resident expatriates in the country need not to apply through the High Commission for visas once granted entry.
The Service explained in a statement signed by the Assistant Controller of Immigration, ‘A’ Headquarters, Lagos, Mr Nuhu Ibrahim, that the new policy, approved by the Federal Executive Council, would attract inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
It noted further that the policy would encourage rapid industralisation and employment generation, adding that it would also attract innovators and highly skilled professionals into the country.
Mr Ibrahim, however, stated clearly that the newly approved policy does not affect accredited diplomats serving in Nigeria.
The Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro, has denied claims that the Ministry substituted the genuine list of victims of the Immigration Recruitment Exercise stampede with strange names.
According to Mr Moro, the said list was compiled by the Presidential Committee that investigated the stampede and had nothing to do with the Ministry .
The Minister added that the names of victims who were not included in the first list are being collated, and they would be forwarded to the committee which is responsible for screening of the victims to ascertain the veracity of their claims.
Mr Moro also assured the victims of the stampede that all those that are proven to be genuine in their claims would be adequately compensated.
President Jonathan had given automatic employment to some unemployed relations of 15 job seekers who lost their lives during the stampede. He said the gesture was not a compensation for the lives lost, but simply to identify with the families of the deceased.
One year after seven people died in a stampede during the Nigerian Immigrations Service recruitment on March 15, 2014, some of the injured victims who were promised automatic employment are crying of foul play.
More than a dozen of the injured victims took to the streets in Abuja to protest against the removal of their names from the list of injured victims released by the hospital to enable them get jobs.
Two of the protesters, Uche Abade and Ali John, while expressing their displeasure, explained that they had investigated the delay in the jobs they were offered by the Presidency and realised there had been foul play.
They urged the federal government to undertake an immediate review of the list to remove fake names that have been fraudulently inserted and restore names of real victims.
The Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro, however, noted that a presidential committee had been set up to handle such matters.
Thousands of job seekers thronged the venue of the Nigeria immigration service examination centres conducted nationwide on March 15, 2014 with 68,000 applicants turning up at the Abuja National Stadium for only 4,000 vacancies.
About 23 Nigerian job seekers who left their homes to sit for the exams did not return home alive as they were trampled to death while scores were seriously injured.
The expanded meeting convened by the Federal Government to look at security situation in Nigeria has kicked off in the Presidential Villa with President Goodluck Jonathan presiding.
The meeting which has a fuller house as against what happened a week before, has many of the governors from the opposition parties present.
The President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Nigeria and the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, as well as the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor are also attending the meeting.
Twenty-four governors are in attendance while the governors of Jigawa, Imo, Oyo, Rivers, Kano, Ogun, Plateau, Edo and Yobe are being represented by their deputies.
The security chiefs in attendance are; the Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as the Inspector-General of Police, the Comptrollers-General of Customs and Immigration, Corp Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps and the Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp.
The Interior Minister, Mr. Abba Moro, Minister of Defence, General Aliyu Gusau, the Minister of Police Affairs, Mr. Abduljelil Adesiyan, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Viola Onwuleri, Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adeshina and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, are also present.
The expanded National Security Council meeting was summoned by President Jonathan following the bombing in Nyanya, Abuja and the abduction of over one hundred female students from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) today (Monday) led a peaceful protest to the Kaduna State command of the Nigerian Immigration Service to express their anger and demand explanation from the authorities over last Saturday’s recruitment exercise that claimed the lives of about 19 applicants.
The angry workers led by the NLC Vice President, Isa Aremu, arrived the Immigration office as early as 7:30am, blocking the entrance and preventing officers of the command from gaining access to their offices.
The workers, who sang anti-government songs, also carried placards carrying various inscriptions. They demanded to see the State Comptroller of Immigration in order to drop their protest letter, but officers on duty denied the protesters access, insisting he was not on seat.
The peaceful protest almost resulted to a fracas when some of the Immigration officials attempted to push the protesters away from the gate, but for the timely intervention of some soldiers attached to the protesters.
The defiant workers insisted that they would not leave the premises until they present their letter to the State Comptroller of Immigration. They also demanded the resignation of the Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro.
The protests caused traffic gridlock along the popular Independence Way in the state capital where the immigration office is located.
Addressing journalists at the gate of the Immigration office, NLC Vice President, Isa Aremu, demanded for an immediate compensation to the families of the victims, as well as assurance from Government that such avoidable deaths would stop.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the development of the remaining portion of the land acquired for the 1977 FESTAC into a proper estate which will be known as new FESTAC City. The planned development of FESTAC Phase Two will be led by the private sector .
Briefing state house correspondents after the meeting on Wednesday, the Minister of Housing, Ms Amal Pepple, stated that over the years the remaining portion spanning over 1,136hectres will create over 7,000plots with shopping malls, health centres as well as create jobs for Nigerians.
She said the new FESTAC city will be purely private sector funded and will be concessioned over a period of 30 years at a cost of N25.7 billion, adding that it will be handled by four companies.
The meeting agreed that such portion of land can fetch the country about N150 million in grand rents annually, hence it cannot be lying fallow when the government wants the private sector to develop infrastructure in the country.
e-Prisons and border
The meeting chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan devoted its time on the performance report of the Ministry of Interior in continuation of the review of the scorecards of the various ministries in 2012.
The Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro revealed to council that his ministry has come up with a proposal to introduce what he called e-prisons to forestall frequent jail breaks in the country as well as electronic surveillance on Nigerian borders.
He made this known while he was briefing the cabinet on the performance of his ministry in the year 2012.
The Minister also informed council of the improvement in the nation’s new visa regime, which was designed to attract investors into the country.
He also gave an update on border control measures, immigration issues, civil defence and prison reforms.
The Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro has promised a total overhaul of the nation’s prison administration system.
The Minister who spoke during the commissioning of a facility at the Borstal Training Institute, a facility for detaining juvenile delinquents in Kaduna and its environs described the rate of prison congestion in the country as worrisome.
He promised speedy dispensation of justice for those awaiting trial to checkmate cases of congestion in prisons across the country.
The federal government hammer has fallen on the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Mrs Rose Uzoma, as she has been sacked from service.
Reports have it that her removal followed the allegation of favouritism levelled against her in a recent recruitment and posting of immigration personnel.
Although the said recruitment in which she was accused of favouring people from her region has since been cancelled by the Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro, a statement from the Minister’s office said the former immigration boss was only asked to proceed on terminal leave.
In a bid to free up job spaces taken up by foreigners for Nigerians, the Ministry of Interior on Monday commenced a reformation of the 1963 Nigerian Immigration Act which prohibits an employer from employing foreigners provided there is a suitable Nigerian for the job.
The reform is expected to fortify the Expatriate Quota Act and also put in place a proper administrator which will monitor compliance to the Act.
The Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro, made this known while he delivered the keynote address titled, ‘Expatriate Quota Administration in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects’, at the opening of workshop on expatriate quota in Lagos on Monday.
Admitting abuse of various immigration laws such as trading and non-utilisation of EQPs, foreign exchange leaching, forgery and fake EQPs and other documents, warehousing of files, non-compliance with understudy policy to ensure transfer of technology etc, the Minister stated that “they are obviously very worrisome”.
According to him, the ministry had resorted to automation to improve functionality and service delivery of the Ministry’s Citizenship and Business Department.
He said the guiding principles of the extant expatriate quota administration were still the Indigenisation laws which had been repealed by the NIPC Act of 1990 in line with global trends.
The Minister also noted that the advent of globalisation, movement of human and material resources in the age of knowledge economy has made the exchange of skills and knowledge undeniable.
He acknowledged that Nigeria does need foreign migrants with necessary skills in certain sectors to fast-track her economic development.
He urged the workshop to dwell on the need to articulate a compact between the Ministry of Interior and all relevant stakeholders on expatriate quota administration in the country, stating “the compact, if developed and approved, will be the building blocks and provide touchstones for consideration in all our ministerial approvals of quota facilities granted by the ministry.”
On the virtues of spontaneity, convenience and timeliness of the new visa regime recently approved by the federal government, the Minister affirmed that the visa will not compromise overall security and economic consideration of the country.
The Federal Government has declared Monday August 20th and Tuesday the 21st as public holidays to commemorate the 2012 Eid-el-fitr Sallah celebrations.
A press statement by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Interior, Ms Nwaobia Daniel, made the announcement.
The Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro, who made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government urged Nigerians to emulate the exemplary attributes of Islam which comprises love, tolerance and peaceful co-existence amongst Nigerians.
He further urged Nigerians irrespective of their faith or religion to use the occasion for sober reflection and pray for the peace, unity and progress of the nation.
Against the backdrop of insecurity in the country, the Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro has stated that the federal government is now contemplating the electronic tracking of foreigners in the country.
The Minister made this known while speaking on Channels Television breakfast show; Sunrise Daily, where he said the efforts are to help quell the rate of violence in some parts of the country.
According to the Minister, the electronic tracking will involve the adequate accounting of the number of immigrants.
He also stated that the tracking will enhance the government in tracking economic saboteurs, who come in as expatriates, yet they grossly unqualified.
He however noted that no foreigner will come into the country to perpetrate evil without the collaboration of Nigerians.