• Interior Ministry ‘staff’ hawk phony careers
• Victims pay N500,000 each for non-existing vocations
• Count us out of the scam – Ministry
Less than three months after a shoddy recruitment exercise, in which more than 20 applicants lost their lives on March 15, 2014, ‘staffers’ of the embattled Ministry of Interior, which organised the exercise for the Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS), are yet at a fresh ‘stunt’.
This time, the unscrupulous elements are not only arranging shady deals, but are also hawking non-existing jobs, while duping unsuspecting Nigerians of their hard-earned funds, the Sunday Newswatchcan authoritatively reveal.
Not minding that the Ministry was recently brought into disrepute, through an exercise that attracted global condemnation, and which was subsequently cancelled, some persons, claiming to be officials of the Ministry, have begun collecting money from job-seekers and their guardians, promising them slots on a phantom ‘ministerial list’, according to our findings.
Specifically, innocent applicants, who, out of desperation, have become willing tools in the hands of the fraudsters, were instructed to pay in cash, usually about half-a-million naira (N500,000) per applicant, in order to get a place on the imaginary ‘ministerial list’, purportedly being compiled in the office of the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro.
The scammers, who operate in many cities of the country, and apparently playing on the naivety of most parents and guardians, whose wards have been home for years after the completion of the compulsory post-graduation National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme, tell their victims to end the infinite years of joblessness by paying N500,000, for a job allegedly being offered through the Minister’s Area 1, Abuja office.
Sunday Newswatch investigations revealed that desperate applicants and their parents were told that the Minister always has a list in which requests from the Presidency, National Assembly, royal fathers, religious leaders and other VIPs (Very Important Personalities) were accommodated.
In addition, the Minister, being a grassroots man, they claim, always takes care of his political interests through such lists.
To convince doubting prospective victims of Benue State origin, for instance, the fraudsters would refer them to the 2012 recruitment exercise conducted by the Nigerian Security Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), during which the Minister allegedly assisted his Idoma people with job opportunities.
The conmen would claim that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command of the Corps has its pay roll made up of over 60 per cent Idomas, while noting that the latest arrangement is for the Minister to ‘settle’ other ethnic groups in his state.
The fraudsters, in their typical modus operandi, further argue that the Minister is rumoured to be eying the Benue State governorship seat, and as such, has convinced his people that he was ready to take care of their interests, and would therefore use the immigration appointments to ‘settle’ all remaining ethnic groups in the state.
However, the activities of the fraudsters have no territorial limitations, as further investigations revealed that their unscrupulous operations cut across the length and breadth of the country, while they appear to be several steps ahead of their victims.
One of the conditions the fraudsters give their prospective applicants, for instance, is to pay the mandatory N500,000 in cash, which will make it difficult to trace the devious transactions.
The Federal Government, shortly after the ill-fated recruitment exercise, had cancelled it and mandated a committee, headed by the chairperson of the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), to work out a transparent modality for the exercise.
Contacted for comments on the development, the Senior Special Assistant to the Minister of Interior, Mr. George Udoh, confirmed that, after the botched March recruitment exercise was cancelled, the government had set up a committee, and that the proposed recruitment exercise was not domiciled in the Ministry.
He disclosed that there was no ministerial list anywhere, and that Nigerians should be vigilant, adding that the media should help in sensitising the public on the activities of the fraudsters.
Botched and racketeered employment exercises are not strange to the Ministry of Interior and the parastatals under it.
In July 2008, no fewer than 17 applicants lost their lives in a recruitment exercise. Official figures had over 195,000 applicants jostling for 3,000 available vacancies all over the country. There was an outcry, as well condemnation, which led to the then Comptroller-General being used as a sacrificial lamb; losing her job barely few months after having assumed the mantle of leadership in the Ministry.
Also, many applicants, majority of whom had come to the stadium in their sports wears in March this year, got the first shock of their lives when they got to the entrance of the 60,000 capacity National Stadium, Abuja, only to discover that some markets were better organised than the so-called recruitment exercise.
Abuja was not an isolated case. The situation was the same in all the 37 recruitment centres, where the capacity of the venues was stretched to their limits.
Sunday Newswatch investigations revealed that security agencies and parastatals under the Ministry of Interior were not formally notified until few hours to the exercise.
In a memo marked CDFIPB/951/1, dated March 11, 2014 and titled: “Request for security officials for the NIS recruitment exercise” and signed by the Director/Secretary of the Defence, Fire, Immigration & Prisons Service Board, S.D. Tapgun, a list of examination centres and number of applicants was attached to the notified security agencies.
That was, however, after the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, D.S. Parradang, had written and caused to be sent, a letter that clearly revealed the sloppiness in the logistics of the planned recruitment exercise.
In the seventh paragraph of the said letter, dated September 9, 2013, and addressed to the Secretary, Civil Defence, Fire, Immigration and Prisons Service Board, (CDFIPB), Abuja, titled: “Re: Application for appointment of qualified persons into the Nigeria Immigration Service,” for the attention of one Dr. R. K. Attahiru (a Director), Parradang had noted: “I wish to draw your attention to an advertisement, which has just been brought to my notice, calling for application of suitably qualified persons for appointment into Category ‘A’ (Superintendent cadre) and B (Inspectorate cadre) of the Nigeria Immigration Service in today’s Daily Trust, Monday, September 9, 2013 at page seven (7) (A copy herewith attached for ease of reference.) I wish to further state that the advertisement for employment took me by surprise and the Agency which I head (i.e. The Nigeria Immigration Service).
Parradang had concluded the letter like a prophet: “Accordingly, I feel and request that the advertisement be withdrawn to allow for full consultation in order to avoid a repeat of the experiences of the past recruitment exercises.”
Parradang was not alone in advising the Board and indeed, the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, to tread on the path of caution on such related matters.
A former Chief of Staff to President Jonathan, in a memo to the President titled: “Re: Extortion of monies from hapless unemployed youths by the Federal Ministry of Interior in the guise of employment recruitment”, and received in the President’s office on December 11, 2013, had sought that the Head of Civil Service of the Federation be directed to issue a definite directive to all Federal Government agencies, to, forthwith, desist from direct, or indirect extortion of applicants during recruitment exercises, and that the Federal Civil Service Commission be directed to bring up holistic and adaptable recruitment guidelines for consideration and possible adoption by all federal agencies.
Sunday Newswatch gathered that the President acted on the Chief of Staff’s memo by directing the Minister of Labour and Productivity and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, to bring the issue as a memo to the Federal Executive Council.
But Comrade Moro had allegedly sidelined both the Board and the Comptroller General of Immigration in the ill-fated recruitment exercise.
Source: Daily Newswatch


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