Ordinarily, job recruitment announcement by the Nigerian Immigration Service, a federal agency, shouldn’t be anything to be suspicious of. Organizations such as Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Civil Defense Corps, and several other similar agencies that begins with the “Nigerian” prefix command high trust gravity, just by virtue of their statutory federal disposition alone.
When such organizations advertise job openings, the general public are expected to take such announcements very serious.
It is not a secret, the Nigerian labour pool is over-saturated with millions of unemployed and under-employed youths, desperately searching for jobs. A good number of them are university graduates, some of whom may have been on the job hunt for up to five years or above, after graduation. As a result, the level of desperation to secure a job, any job, is high, and even higher when the jobs in question are for federal government agencies.
Many of these job seekers in their desperation become target for fraudsters that take advantage of their vulnerability to dispose them of their meager and, sometimes, even borrowed resources.
Usually, their ploy would be to advertise seemingly lucrative jobs with mouth-watering packages and work their victims from there forward. To be candid, this is nothing new in Nigeria, but with the easy spread of information via the internet, Nigerians have gotten wiser.
However, when organizations like the Nigerian Immigration Service advertise for job openings, people’s guard are naturally at their lowest, and rightly so.
The 2014 Nigerian Immigration Job recruitment is one of such exercises one naturally will be hesitant to raise a caution flag.
First, it is legit, because there were actually about three thousand (3000) vacant slots to be filled. Secondly, the choice of stadia across the nation to carry out the test conveys a sense of openness of the exercise. These steps alone will convince anyone, who was even remotely suspicious, that all is well, while giving more than enough semblance of transparency.
However, those were not the only steps that were taken. Two more steps were implemented.
- The Nigerian Immigration Service contracted the job recruitment to an external consulting firm, Drexel Limited.
- Each applicant had to pay a non-refundable fee of one thousand Naira (N1000.00)
This is where it actually gets interesting.
So, does it mean that a federal agency like the Immigration Service lacks the capacity to effectively recruit just three thousand (3000) applicants across the nation? If no, then why was it necessary to employ the services of an external firm to do that? Is it even normal for a federal agency to outsource such a sensitive assignment to a third party? Or, can we assume that Nigerian Immigration actually don’t have the capacity to effectively handle the recruitment in-house?
Now, if we recall that the sum of one thousand Naira (N1000.00), non-refundable fee, was imposed on all applicants, then the puzzle starts to fall into place.
According to the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, five hundred and twenty six thousand, six hundred and fifty (526, 650) duly completed applications were received. By implication, that number of people paid the compulsory and non-refundable fee of one thousand Naira (N1000.00).
However, Information flying around suggests that the number of applications, as quoted by the Minister of Interior, is conservative. Even the consulting company’s figure of seven hundred and ten thousand (710,000) registered applications conflicts with the Minister’s claims. Considering it was a nationwide recruitment exercise, the Minister’s figure would suggest an average of fourteen thousand, two hundred and thirty four (14,233) applicants per state, for all thirty six states and Abuja. Going by the images seen from some of the centers across the nation, it seems to suggest much more, but just let’s go by the Minister’s figures.
So, how much was generated just by the non-refundable payment? Below is what a simple math reveals:
526,650 (applicants) paid N1000.00 (each) ==> N526,650,000 (non-refundable)
Yes, five hundred and twenty six million, six hundred and fifty thousand Naira (N526,650,000) domiciled into the coffers of this independent consulting company, not the government, just like that. It is unlikely you can find any other means of quick and huge money making model, that is legit.
Fresh facts emerging from Senate hearing on this issue, indicate that the consulting company only made available the sum of forty five million Naira (N45M) to the Nigerian Immigration for conducting the test. According to the company, it was not obliged to even make any fund available to the immigration, as it was only contracted to provide online registration services, while the Nigerian Immigration was supposed to fund and handle the actual test.
Let’s be candid, do you think that they would have continued accepting applications, to the tune of half a million for just three thousand jobs, if they weren’t charging a non-refundable amount? You be the judge here, and hopefully, you’re beginning to see why this is a well organized fraud. The choice of an external company is obviously to enable easy access to the loot
Looking at the image above, how feasible do you think it will be to conduct a written test in a stadium, with clearly no provisions for writing? How easy would it be to distribute and collect the materials from the participants? How many officials would be needed to ensure the applicants followed the test guidelines? What of security, emergency and first-aid facilities? There are way more questions, but this is a clear indication that all this was just a make-believe, diverting the attention from the primary aim, which is the loot.
Ordinarily, receiving more than half a million applications for a job opening for just three thousand slots, is enough to set off an alarm bell to any employer. The logistics required to manage such numbers is enormous, if an employer truly planned to manage all of them. However, in a situation where increase in numbers directly translated to increase in revenue, it simply reduces the exercise to a game of numbers. The more the number of applicants, the more the revenue banked. In the case of the NIS, this represents more than five hundred and twenty six million Naira (> N526M), an amount anyone will agree is huge by all standards.
By engaging an external company, it will all seem like only the company in question is privy to the revenue generated. One doesn’t need a rocket science to know that the company was just used as a cover up. At the end of the day, money changes hands, and everyone involved is happy, except the unemployed and the poor, who have been robbed of their resources, wounded in the stampede that ensued, and some even paid the supreme sacrifice.
President Goodluck Jonathan, in his reaction to the sham way the recruitment was handled, cancelled the entire exercise. However, it wasn’t clear if there was clear instruction to return the loot back to their individual owners.
Furthermore, the President decided to compensate the families of the dead with automatic employments to any three candidates the family presents, that must include one female. Similarly, he also approved an automatic employment to everyone who was injured during the exercise.
However, knowing our system, even this noble gesture might end up being exploited by hospitals and the the powers that be. After-all, someone has to implement the instruction. There might not be any structure put in place to ensure that the people targeted by the President, actually end up becoming the beneficiaries.
The government is expected to, in the minimum, prosecute all those complicit in this overall shameful exercise, and at best, put structures and policies in place to ensure this doesn’t repeat.
However, almost any adult Nigerian can guess accurately what it likely to happen: a panel or committee will be set up to look into the “remote and immediate cause(s)” of this “deplorable situation” or any other phrase they can coin. Thereafter, a report will be presented, and another committee will be set up to look into the report. At the end of the day, no one is reprimanded. Corruption, impunity and high level fraud flourishes, even within supposedly respected federal establishments like the Nigerian Immigration Service.