IT is time that governments at all levels, including the law enforcement and non-statutory vigilante organisations, took more than a passing interest in the rash of “job opportunities” being advertised at prominent junctions, crossroads and pasted on walls and bridges, especially in major urban centres throughout the federation.
These “job vacancies”, usually written with chalk or charcoal, or simply printed out on cheap A4 printing papers, advertise various categories of (usually) casual or manual labour, some of them offering daily pay packages that many young, unemployed people find irresistible. Usually, the advertisers leave contact phone numbers but hardly concrete office addresses.
Many tales have been told of how some criminal syndicates, capitalising on the crushing unemployment rate and lack of job opportunities, lure unsuspecting and desperate job-seekers to defraud them, abduct them for ritual purposes or lure them into human trafficking rings. Some of the luckier victims find themselves in casual job engagements in which some unscrupulous foreign foremen (especially Asians) subject them to dehumanising working conditions which are seriously frowned upon by our laws.
We are not saying that all of them are roads to perdition, but many of them are. It is the job of our law enforcement agencies and other relevant agencies of state, with the support of social advocacy groups, to unveil these criminal activities and bring their perpetrators to book.
We advocate for the strict regulation and monitoring of job agencies. People should not be allowed to deface walls, bridges and important public places without any form of control or sanction. We advise that anyone seeking to advertise jobs should either go through approved job agencies or at least, notify the appropriate government agencies such as the National Directorate of Employment, NDE, charged with regulating such activities, and the Police. That way, it will be easier to keep hoodlums and criminals away from using non-existing job openings to victimise unsuspecting job seekers.
Ideally, anyone seeking to employ labour should follow the same process as in the change of name. This involves swearing an affidavit in court and attaching the vacancy notice which is then published in the “Classified” sections of national dailies at minimal cost.
Newspapers can choose to publish such notices both on their printed and online versions for all job seekers to consult daily. That is how it is done in other more civilised climes, and there is no reason we cannot do the same here in Nigeria.
The indiscriminate display of both real and fraudulent job vacancies in the public space does not speak well of us. It must be stopped, not only because of the eyesore that it is, but also more importantly, because it has lured a lot of innocent young people to their doom.