No fewer than 21 people reportedly died during the stampede that occurred at the NIS recruitment centres across the country.
The Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro, who hails from the same local government area with the Senate President, David Mark, was widely accused of being responsible for the poor conduct of the nationwide aptitude test for the Nigerian job seekers.
The Senate on March 18, following persistent public outcry, directed its Committee on Interior to conduct a public hearing to unravel the remote and immediate causes of the stampede at the NIS recruitment centres.
The committee was to report back to the chamber within two weeks to enable it to take appropriate action that would discourage such recklessness during future exercises.
However, more than nine months after the committee, led by Senator Abubakar Bagudu, concluded investigations and submitted its report to the Senate, the leadership of the upper chamber had remained silent despite calls for deliberation on the report.
There were insinuations that the report of the panel might have been secretly implemented when President Goodluck Jonathan, about seven months ago, directed that three family members of each of the deceased applicants should be offered slots in a fresh Immigration recruitment exercise.
However, the committee empanelled by the President had yet to comply with the order while the controversy over the payment of hospital bills of the victims was yet to be cleared as the interior ministry was accused of failing to fulfil its promise to settle the bills.
Moro had at the Senate investigative hearing admitted his negligence in the NIS recruitment exercise.
The Benue-born minister had said, “With regards to the ill-fated day, I cannot abdicate responsibility; the buck in the entire exercise ends on my table.”
The Secretary of the Civil Defence, Fire Service, Immigration and Prisons Board, Mr. Sylvester Tapgun, and the Comptroller General of the NIS, Mr. David Parradang, who testified before the panel, accused Moro of unilaterally contracting the exercise to the consultant, Messrs Drexel Technology Nigeria Limited.
Parradang had said that he protested the recruitment modalities by suggesting staggering of the exercise to be held in applicants’ state of origin, while the payment of N1000 for forms should be discouraged but that the minister did not listen to him.
Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma – Egba, and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang, who spoke with our correspondent on the issue on Monday said the report had not been swept under the carpet.
Ndoma – Egba said all reports before the Senate would be treated whenever they were presented for consideration.
Enang also assured members of the public that all legislative businesses pending before the Senate would be attended to before the expiration of the 7th Senate in June next year.
Meanwhile, apart from the report of the NIS recruitment saga, our correspondent learnt that the Senate Committee on Police, which investigated the teargas attack on Senator Magnus Abe by the police had yet to submit its report to the upper chamber.
Other reports, like the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, Petroleum Industry Bill, Review of the 1999 Constitution and treatment of the 2014 National Conference report are all pending before the Senate.