BY EBELE ORAKPO

I said it. I knew it would come to this,” shouted a commuter by name, Jossy, in the Oshodi-bound commercial bus this Sunday morning as the newscaster told of how many people died while many more were injured during the Nigeria Immigration Service recruitment exam held last Saturday across the country.

Continued Jossy: “I knew they would have already taken the number of people they needed. I heard senators, governors, House of Reps members, ministers etc., had slots. All this exam nonsense was just for public show; to make us believe that the process was transparent.”

“I totally agree with you. If they really meant business, there should have been a shortlist; but there was nothing like that. You had about 4,500 openings and over 6.5 million applications. The normal thing would have been for the officials to do a shortlist of about 5,000 candidates and then choose from the lot after an online test,” said Ify.

“I heard there was actually a shortlist but I think they invited all the applicants,”said John.

“When I saw the sms regarding the exam, I thought it was from fraudsters because it’s their stock in trade. They simply exploit the opportunity provided by high unemployment rate to rip off people. It’s nauseating. Here is someone desperately looking for a job and you defraud him knowing full well that you have no job to offer. God must judge them,” stated Jossy.

“Before God starts punishing them, government must punish them first by relieving them of their posts. All they were after was the billions to be made and not the safety of applicants,” said John.

“I heard they raked in over N6 billion from the applicants as processing fee. Each applicant paid N1,000 processing fee so multiply 6.5 million by 1,000,” said Ify.

“This is grossly unfair! Haba! At the expense of people’s lives? The Minister of Interior, NIS Comptroller-General, in short, any one directly or remotely connected with this should be sanctioned,” declared Okey.

“But how many people actually died?” asked Ade.

Replied Ify: “We don’t know the exact figure. Some said 16, some 20, some 23. But even if it is just one person, it shouldn’t have happened. Couldn’t this test have been done online? Why must we continue to take the difficult route?”

Noted Ade: “This simply shows that the unemployment situation in Nigeria is indeed frightening. Imagine having 69,000 applicants in Abuja and 56,000 in Lagos alone…”

Interjected Okey:  “Wait a minute; you mean to tell me that Abuja had 69,000 candidates to sit for the exam all at once? So tell me why there wouldn’t be a stampede. Imagine the crowd coupled with the heat. Abuja Stadium has capacity to take only 60,000 but 69,000 went for the exam. If these guys meant well, why didn’t they schedule the exams over a period of one week or more? This is pure wickedness.

“Some of the applicants, I believe, already had jobs but needed a federal job which they feel pays better, is more secure and they do very little with plenty of time on their hands to pursue other businesses. Again, some of them must have paid so much to fake recruitment agents who must have assured them of getting the job after they must have paid upwards of N150,000 each,” said John.

 

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