Immigration Fraud: Another Witness Testifies Against Abba Moro

Former Minister of Interior, Abba Moro
Former Minister of Interior, Abba Moro

Tabugn Sylvanus, A Retired Director And Secretary Of The Board Of The National Immigration Service, NIS, Has Testified Against Former Interior Minister, Abba Moro, In His Ongoing Trial for his alleged role in a recruitment scheme in 2014 that led to the death of some applicants.

Sylvanus, the second prosecution witness to testify against Moro, told the Federal High Court, Abuja, that only N45 million was released for the conduct of the tragic recruitment examination, out of about N1 billion generated from sale of forms at N1000 each.

He also revealed that the initial number of expected participants at the Abuja exam venue was 6,800, but a last minute decision pushed the number to over 66,000.

The witness told the court: “We wrote the chairman (Abba Moro), indicating the cost of the exercise. We came up with N201 million and forwarded to the honourable chairman for approval. The chairman gave his approval and conveyed same to Drexel.

“The company fired back that they were not supposed to be responsible to fund the exercise. But as a benevolent gesture; they attached a cheque of N45 million as their contribution to the exercise.

“Immediately we informed the chairman who ordered that we trim the budget to meet the available sum of money.”

Sylvanus explained that the Federal Government incurred no cost during the preparations for the recruitment exercise.

On what led to the stampede on the day of the screening exercise, the former immigration official explained that the initial plan was for candidates to sit for the exams at the various states, but that the chairman objected to it.

“It was this change in plans that led to the disaster,” Sylvanus explained.

“Because of the change in the announcements that candidates should sit at their choice venues, FCT that had about 6,800 now got up to 66,000 candidates.

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The witness further said that some immigration officers who had gone early in the morning to survey the venue of the screening exercise reported that some applicants slept at the stadium, awaiting the exercise.

“I took that as a warning sign that the security architect that was duly placed may not hold,” he said.

Syvanus then narrated what actually caused the stampede that resulted in the death of about 18 persons.

He said: “What happened was that there were people from inside the gate that were trying to get out and some from outside who were trying to get in.

“The number of those trying to get in was more than those from inside trying to get out.

“So while they were trying to get in, the ones outside fell the gate on those inside and they were trampled upon.”

Having spent about five hours listening to the testimony, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba adjourned the case to October 14 for continuation of hearing.

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