NIS Recruitment Tragedy Exposes Nigeria's Unending Mediocrity
By Joe Igbokwe
We woke up in Lagos yesterday, Saturday March 15 just like any other day, believing we will have a peaceful day. As early morning joggers moved towards the National Stadium Surulere, they were stunned into disbelief by the sea of heads of Nigerian Youths, all in white trooping to the National Stadium. It was an unbelievable sight to behold. They were later to discover that they are job seekers looking for 3000 jobs from Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS.
In the 33 states of Nigeria, including Abuja and excluding Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, the applicants gathered in their millions. I was told the applicants mostly youths, had certificates ranging from Master's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, HND, OND, NCE and Senior School Certificate. Each applicant paid N1000 processing fee, and if the numbers are anything to go by, we shall be talking over Six Million applicants. If you do the simple Arithmetic here, we will be getting very close to 7 Billion Naira. This is what NIS pocketed. This is the target. Making the recruitment for all and sundry including school certificate holders suggests to me that the money is the target. Using our Stadia in the 33 states including Abuja was an effort to justify the Scam. It was an exercise to show us that they are serious but behind the scene is an attempt to rob millions of our sapped and hapless youths of their money in the name of recruitment. It was a planned deal. They know that every Nigerian youth will like to work at the Immigration because they believe there is money there. Who does not know about the story about the Nigerian Customs and Excise? The truth is that there are hundreds of other ways to carry out this exercise than this primitive and 10 century method of exposing our mediocrity and weaknesses to the outside world.
The greed, inefficiency and weaknesses of NIS and their masters have brought the death of more than 20 Nigerian Youths including 3 pregnant women and more than 100 people injured. Nigeria has gradually entered into the Guinness Book of Records for this show of shame. Nigerian Immigration Service has through the power of greed and avaricious tendencies exposed and ridiculed Nigeria's unending mediocrity to the world. Did you see the sea of heads at our Stadia throughout the 33 states and Abuja? Did you see the sufferings Nigerian Leaders exposed their youths too? Did you see our Youths writing without desk under the scorching heat of the sun? Did you see the scramble to enter the venues? How many ambulances did you see out there? Were there plans for emergencies? Were the youths even given a bottle of water from the more than six billion Naira they stole from them? Were there provision for nursing mothers and pregnant women? Were there multiple points of ingress and egress at those venues? Was traffic situation considered?
If we look at the political implications many questions will also come to mind. Does this so-called recruitment exercise have anything to do with 2015 elections? Is it similar to FERMA's recruitment of thugs and hoodlums in Lagos in the name of employment road managers? Why are PDP and President Jonathan doing all these now? This morning, I read in the papers where PDP is urging other agencies and parastatals to redouble their efforts in curbing unemployment. Why are all these coming up now? Why this sudden drive to create jobs after almost 15 years in office? PDP is simply afraid that things might go wrong in 2015 and hence this desperation.
More questions: Why should NIS collect N1000 each from more than 6 million Nigerians when you know you have only 3000 vacant positions? Where has all the money gone to? Who authorized the collection? Where is the balance after the expenditure?
Now if this is not Nigeria, heads would have started rolling at the Nigerian Immigration Service. Arrests of the men behind this huge scam would have been completed by now. There would have been apologies from the highest seat of power. There would be apologies and regrets from the organizers and executors of this failed exercise. But this is a Nigeria where impunity is a way of life. This is Nigeria where sycophancy is a way of life
The horrible pictures of more than six million Nigerian Youths seeking for three thousand NIS jobs have been put in the world scene. The inability of Nigerian leaders to show leadership in hours of need has been exposed to the world. The criminal level of the unemployment situation in Nigeria has been let out of the bag in a country where few leaders pocket 20 billion dollars without caring a hoot. This tragedy has clearly exposed our system failure. It has clearly shown the level of the reasoning and thinking of our leaders.
This is a national shame!