Definitely, those young men and women who died while searching for a fictitious Nigerian immigration job would have been alive today if they were born citizens of any other country. Unfortunately, they were born into a country, where life is not only short and brutish but also where there is an unequalled disrespect for the citizens and disregard for human life.
Because there is great disregard for life in Nigeria, up till now no one has taken responsibility for the death of about twenty young job seekers. Is such number of death of young people, who were unnecessarly sent to their early graves due to a fraudulent and incompetent handling of the Immigration job screening exercise, not enough to weigh down the conscience of those in charge to at least resign their positions?
Yes, lack of men and women of honour can be a national malaise, but unacceptable is for some government officials to cause the death of such number of our future generation and yet continue to function in their positions as if nothing has happened.
Normally in serious climes, those responsible would have long resigned and the Director of Public Prosecution would now be considering charging them with murder. You can commit murder directly or indirectly. In this case, it is indirect murder when death results from the negligent or recklessly careless action of those who planned and organized the screening exercise. What were they thinking when they cramped such number of desperate job seekers in stadia only for too few available jobs, which they will never get in any case? They should have known that stampede was a likely outcome. Because they were recklessly careless about this makes their act, which led to deaths, a culpable homicide or at least manslaughter. One undisputable principle of law is that when your acts or omissions leads to death, so long as it is not a case of self defense, one is guilty of at least manslaughter.
It is a good sign that President Goodluck Jonathan has officially queried the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro and the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), David Parradang. Nevertheless, it appears to me to be the typical Nigerian style of showing that something is being done so that Nigerians would later forget with the passage of time. I had expected Jonathan to fire without delay the two men since they are not honourable enough to accept responsibility of their recklessness. The government of Jonathan was quick to cancel the outcome of the screening exercise, but reluctant to descend on the officials who perpetrated the national show of shame that was labeled a job recruitment exercise. Those who died are children of people, in whom much was invested so that they can take over the bread winning role of their respective families.
The sad thing is that those job seekers died in vain. They died searching for an immigration job that has already been reserved for the “well connected”. Certainly, those who will eventually fill those vacant positions at the Nigeria Immigration Service would not have been selected from that screening exercise, rather from the list that would be sent from the Presidency and the respective governor’s offices. The job seekers, who died, died because they were needed to take part in a sham screening exercise in order to satisfy existing laws which prescribe due process.
Also depressing is the fact that those young men and women paid money to die. The fraud which has been going on with impunity in the country for long is the practice of asking unemployed people to pay to apply for government job vacancies. This is absurd. From where do they expect an unemployed to get the money to make such payment?
Normally a serious country, with the type of income Nigeria has, should be paying the unemployed unemployment benefits. Our insensitive leaders have refused to do this. The unemployed Youth has fecklessly accepted. Yet whenever they want to apply for a government job, they are asked to pay for it. From where are we getting the precedent from? Such a thing only happens in Nigeria.
One of Nigeria’s greatest obstacles is a very corrupt civil service. No matter how well some good minded political office holders might mean for our motherland, nothing gets done because of a greedy and corrupt civil service. Those monsters who call themselves civil servants will do all to make sure that business remains as usual. It is not in their interest that the country should make progress. Nigeria’s civil servants are mainly the ones sucking dry the cow called Nigeria. Little wonder 70% of the landed properties in Abuja are owned by Nigeria’s “pen robbers”.
How could a ministry or government agency that gets billions of Naira for recurrent expenditure still extort millions of Naira from job seekers merely because they applied for vacant positions? It is simply the apogee of wickedness and insensitivity, which stems from lack of love, respect and regard for citizens of the republic.
We can make as much noise as we like about the fight against corruption. How could we say we are fighting corruption when the anti graft agencies close its eyes while civil servants in the ministries and government agencies illegally make billions of Naira by constantly extorting application fees from job applicants - as if they are looking for contracts. If you multiply N1, 000 by the 500,000 who applied for the Immigration positions then you will get a picture of what I am talking about. The sum you get is pocketed by people who pose as civil servants and government officials. They have been feeding fat on the desperation of the over 80% Youth unemployment.
The fact that half a million Youth lined up for less than five thousand jobs is irrefutable proof of failure of governance. Jonathan, like all those before him, failed to create jobs and give our teeming young population a future. He would rather prefer to waste Nigeria’s money in unnecessary foreign trips.
It sickens to know that a country, in which 500,000 job applicants scramble for 5,000 vacancies, will pay delegates for the National Conference N12million in three months. Never getting our priorities right has become a national malady.
In any case, one hopes that Jonathan sets example with this immigration case so that never again will such employment fraud repeat itself.
Those in charge should return the monies illegally extracted from those job seekers. And Nigerians expect nothing less than their sack and prosecution. It is high time we ruled the line.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters