YOUTHS EMPLOYMENT: BLOOD ON THE PRESIDENCY
This is not the first time Nigeria nation would be presiding over the butchering of her citizens on account of elusive job scam.
This perhaps, is the single most organised wanton and grim harvest of deaths in such instance, in a swamp of stampedes that snuff out lives from 19 applicants across the country! The same scenario placed out in July 13, 2008, where dozens of applicants died at various centres across Nigeria in recruitment exercises conducted by the same Immigration Service and the Prisons Department.
Then, Many applicants filled themselves up for employment and were required to complete a 2.
5 km race in 18 minutes (men) and 20 minutes (women).
Regrettably, it never occurred to the recruiters that they had to set up emergency medical services that are routinely provided even in situations involving those whose physical fitness can be taken for granted in any civilised clime, just the way it happened on March 17th.
It became a tragic race of no return for 43 of the 195, 000 applicants who jostled for 3,000 vacancies.
The physical strength, not wits or wisdom become the ultimate credential or criteria that determined their employment and existence.
"They were trampled underfoot in the frenzied rush to gain a vantage position at the start; others died from sheer exhaustion.
Hundreds sought hospital treatment for the injuries they suffered during the race", says Dr Olatunji Dare.
These inhuman and avoidable deaths and degrading treatment of the job-seekers constitute fundamental violations of their rights to life, dignity and work.
It shows the growing level of economic injustice caused by pervasive corruption and lack of opportunities for Nigerian children to enjoy the right to payable job and to earn a living by work, as guaranteed by international and regional human rights treaties to which Nigeria subscribes.
The opportunity offers itself for the Nigerian government to urgently adopt legislative, budgetary, administrative and other measures to promote and support access to employment opportunities for her citizens.
Curiously, Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also guarantees the right to work, to free choice of employment, to protection against unemployment, and to an existence worthy of human dignity.
This is another bizarre incident of an elected government officials sanctioning mass murders of its gullible and unsuspecting youths on the alter of phantom employment scam and racket, claiming that it serves those who died in the stampedes right.
It is unimaginable that the mass of ambitious youths and pregnant mothers of our ancestry should groan and die of hungry and poverty in a state of agony in the midst of plenty.
With impunity, Patrick Abba Moro, the Minister of the Interior, who has the Immigration Service under his portfolio, laid the blame squarely at the door steps of the victims, instead of empathising with them.
'Several unauthorised persons came in here, especially pregnant women,' he said.
Then, as if for emphasis, he added: 'I am surprised that pregnant women would want to come and partake in this exercise that involves physical exercises.
' Minister Alba Moro claimed the ministry shortlisted 80,000 applicants, and that several of those at the Abuja stadium were not shortlisted.
But the Immigration service said they expected 100,000 on Saturday in the same stadium.
The question is where would the minister made seats available for 80,000 persons who converge at the National Stadium with a sitting capacity of 60,000? Abba Moro's statement which suggests that the victims died thier due death has got to rank among the most brazen and impervious ever uttered by any serious minded political office holder.
Similar unpatriotic and jaundiced statement was made by Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda in the wake of the murder of 20 Youth Corpers doing election duties in the state in 2011 that thier deaths are in keeping with their destiny! Nigerians are being killed in large scale on a daily bases without any end in sight and federal government has grown accustomed to a very repulsive and defeatist sloganeering of "we will get to the root of the killings".
The presidency, as usual, will soon set up a panel of enquiry to investigate the remote causes of the death-for-employment heist.
The questions is, shall we expect President Goodluck Jonathan to "get to the root of the present stage managed killing" by the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS and its allied? If he does, shall we ever know the purpose the killing serves in his government? Could the government findings assuage the feelings of many Nigeria who linked the deaths of job-seeking youth to serving ritual purposes? Would the enquiry truely reveal the Administration's intension that was attended with showmanship? How many more Nigerians will pay the ultimate price if the aims of the brutal ritualistic stampedes is to elongate certain person hold onto power beyond 2015? The lies fed the entire world by the Briton Woods economist and World Bank pimpernel, Dr Ngozi Okonjor-Iweala and her pay master, President Goodluck Jonathan has resonates with the blood of innocent job-seekers across the federation.
Unfortunately, the young citizens who died in the job fiasco are not seeking to secure jobs alone, but to be allowed the opportunity to contribute towards the development of their fatherland.
The 19 persons who died, four of them pregnant women, were killed in the resulting stampedes.
Hundreds suffered injuries.
"The luckier ones were horse-whipped (Calabar), tear-gassed (Port Harcourt), or sent into wild panic when Immigration officials and police shot into the air, they claimed, to control the surging crowds (Asaba and Abeokuta).
" The truth has been laid bare - 4,500 vacancies declared by NIS attracted over 6 million applicants, from which over half a million was shortlisted before the exercise was ever conducted.
Yet these youths were crushed with their ambitious bid as the aspiring leaders of tomorrow as they were ignorantly made to understand that there is light at the end of the tunnel! Even though it is obvious to the blind that the tunnel has long disappeared along with the light, They were very much deceived in their borrowed hope.
President Jonathan has deadened his consciousness to several admonition that massive and mindless looting of the public funds that could have been used to create millions of jobs ending up in the deep pockets of corrupt government officials without any consequence is at the heart of the nation's woes.
If the roads across the country are not suffery from variation and abandonments, if the hospital are truly reconstructed as claimed and monies voted for education find their way into the sector, no doubt many unemployed youths would have been out of unemployment market.
This is not the case with President Goodluck Jonathan's Administraion.
Beyond job-creating subterfuge which turns out to be potent bloodletting episode over the years - whose actual motive is already know to all - is one tragic incident that should trouble lovers of humanity and justice.
Job creation is one area Dr Ngozi Okonjor-Iweala repeatedly and routinely pounds her chest with nebulous figure of economic growth as a result of employment generation.
This has since turned out to be a ruse and deceitful indices.
If democracy as we know it in Nigeria of today is all but job creation, youth empowerment, infrastructural development, majority rule, rule of law, equity, social justice, accountability, free choice and all other variable of potential developmental indices, then we are not far removed from what we are about to become - "Failed State".
A state that is helpless over the mindless hacking of her citizenry, even masterminding such horrendous butchering as it is in this case, has no business with nation-becoming.
Vice-President of the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) and General Secretary of the Textile Workers Union of Nigeria, Issa Aremu, captured the situation perfectly: 'The issues of unemployment and job creation should dominate discussion at the National Conference billed to commence on Monday, March 17 (today), 2014.
The crisis of unemployment is one issue that cuts across all the regions of the country.
" Again, avoidable deaths, tears and sorrow characterised a simple recruitment exercise of 4,500.
This unacceptable development runs against the best employment practices as contained in Nigeria's Labour Act and relevant conventions and resolutions of International Labour Organization (ILO) guiding decent work as subscribed to by Nigeria,' he said.
'Just as it was in 2008 (six years ago) the gender dimension of the deaths involved females and pregnant women in Benin.
When we consider the pregnant applicants, we have invariably also killed unborn applicants.
For a country that just marked International Women's Day with fanfare, the deaths of female applicants do gross violence to the federal and state governments' claim to respect human and women rights.
These nation-wide unprovoked deaths have negatively dented the notorious image of Nigeria as a country in which lives are being casually wasted in the communities, on the roads and now at recruitment centres.
'When tragedies get addictive and widespread, as it is regrettably becoming the regular trademark of the Nigeria Immigration Service, these are no more 'accidents' or a flash but clearly avoidable incidents.
Indeed the deaths are nothing less than industrial murders whose perpetrators are known.
Nigerians do not need another probe panel on this tragedy.
"In 2008, under Yar'Adua-led administration after similar carnage called recruitment, the Federal Government instituted a probe into the circumstances which led to the death of scores of applicants nationwide.
The outcome of the probe was never known.
Nigerians are probes-fatigue.
Indeed the probe has not stopped this weekend's industrial murders.
This certainly should not be another opportunity for probe-panel beating", he said.
It is shameful that over 6 million youths will pay N1, 000 to chase less than 5,000 jobs in a single department across the country.
This same blood-soaked racket has raked in over N2 billion for the Nigeria Immigration Service, which they claimed the money was meant for the consulting firm.
The tragic incident is a clear testament of President Goodluck Jonathan's clueless economic policy, which regrettably posits that the government has no business in business and the monumental graft that governs his Administration.
Any wonder that the PDP Administration could not deploy the unprecedented oil and gas revenue that have accrued to the nation in the last 15 years into critical infrastructure like refineries, modern railways, power supply for the teeming Nigerian youths? Until Nigerians learn to hold their leaders accountable, the tragedy of March 17 will repeat itself over and again.
Written By Erasmus Ikhide [review]