The day dawned early like no other.
I hardly slept a wink all night because I was busy devouring my GMAT and going through every sort of interview preparatory questions I could lay my hands upon.
I had received an sms a couple of days earlier inviting me for a job ‘interview / test’.
My crisp fitted white striped shirt alongside the long black striped skirt with a side slit were spread out on my bed, waiting expectantly.
I loved that combination and how it made me look very smart and ‘chic’. I was determined to impress the interviewers in every way so I could land the job.
Year was 2005 and I had completed the compulsory NYSC some months back.
I got to the interview center somewhere at Ojuelegba to meet a room-full of other applicants.
The ‘Company’ occupied the ground floor of a storey building up an alley at Ojuelegba in Lagos State, Nigeria. I didnt mind that there was a bus park just in front of the building. Maybe this is just the branch office and I would be posted to the the head office in a business environment or in a more serene neighborhood, I mused.
Getting there had been easy, somewhat. All looked good save the very busy / noisy environment.
I strode confidently in and wasted no time in registering by filling an attendance register, I then got myself a seat and waited, heart pounding.
I must have sat there for hours; more people streamed in and soon after, my name was called. ‘Twas my turn. Lord have mercy.
I strolled into the ‘interview-room’ to face a young un-smiling lady who took my details, all the while keeping her eyes on the form or whatever she was scribbling on.
She asked a few questions before raising her head to look at me straight in the eyes.
And then I was given the news.
I had to register with ‘them’ for a fee and they would get me placements with some very great companies. Not one, not two…could be upto three. Choice Companies. I would have my pick of who to work for…Maybe I could even ‘dash‘ my bestie, Timmy one of the job offers I would get…
I would really have an array of mouth-watering offers to choose from. Too good to be true. Maybe my time has come, my steps were really ordered. Hurray.
I quickly rummaged in my bag and paid the registration fee, without giving it further thoughts.
Left the building with high hopes only to discover that I just gave all I had on me and I had no dime left to transport me back home. See mugu in Lagos!
The scales fell off my eyes rapidly and I ended up doing ‘babiala’ to get me back home.
Yes I quickly clambered down from my high horse and begged. I explained my predicament to some kindhearted ladies passing by. They didn’t know me from Eve yet took compassion on me and one of them parted with N500 naira though not without an admonishment to be wary of fraudulent organizations such as that, henceforth.
God bless her kind soul wherever she is today.
I would go on to secure a job same year by divine providence. They took my money and I got taught a valuable lesson.
I just realized I am lucky to get off so very lightly.
Because 10years after, the
fraud game is still on, stronger than ever.
Those are Nigerian youths seeking respite from their jobless state, thirsty to join the workforce and start earning some decent living.
They sought relief from the Government they or their parents or their relatives helped to install but they were robbed. Just like me.
Public institutions whom our parents contributed to build have joined the dance of shame. Or how could one explain away the fact that a Government institution / agency took money from hard-pressed job applicants just to have them participate in a recruitment exercise.
They ended up paying for the non-existent jobs with their money…and some paid with their lives! Upto 21 bright and hopeful lives were cut short, in their prime while jostling to better their lives.
Maybe something not unconnected with corruption. Poor recruitment protocol. Maybe disregard for health and safety. Several thousands of youths were reportedly camped in stadia that are rated for lower number of people per time. Sad result? Stampeding…death.
They were not gathered to watch football match..
Never mind that 520,000+ people were actually invited for screening for 4,556 job openings, a sum of N1,000 was reportedly taken from each applicant before they could participate!
And this is supposed to be 2014.
Somebody already smiled to the Bank on account of these hapless and helpless individuals. And to think that in more civilized societies, these set of helpless individuals would have been placed on some sort of benefit or job-seeker’s allowance.
Now quantify the lives of the people that died in the process of this show of shame
recruitment exercise and the mathematics gets very bloody.
Gross injustice. Dark opportunism.
Scumbags. Tyrants. Rogues. Thieves. Add Murderer to the title and you just about summed up the set of people that deliberately set out to do this.
So highly irresponsible and insensitive of whoever came up with the shameful idea of increasing the revenue of the Nigeria Immigration Services in this manner.
May the souls of the departed rest in peace and may their families find comfort. Amen.
To every job-seeker still hoping for a better tomorrow, it will definitely come. Before it does, please be wise and learn from the experiences of others.
1) If it sounds too good to be true (like my case), then it probably is.
2) Never succumb to coercions to part with the little you’ve got.
3) Put your safety / well-being first.
The sun will come up and you will be bathed by the warm glow of hope and fulfillment.