March 15, 2014 – Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS Recruitment 2014 Job Test: Matters Arising By Abdullahi Yunusa
Most Nigerians woke up this morning to be greeted with sordid stories and pictures of how millions of job-seeking Nigerians were crammed up in various open places to undergo the widely publicized Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) job test scheduled to hold in all states of the federation with the exception of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. I have lost count of the number of candid pictures of various centres taken by the job seekers themselves. Trust Nigerians, we all know how to create fun out of every nasty or unpalatable situation. Our resilient spirit remains our hugest asset and strength. This largely accounts for why we remain hopeful in situations that others would ordinarily resolved to settle with.
The nationwide test has brought to the fore lack of proper coordination, ingenuity and tact in carrying out government businesses. It is a direct pointer to the fact that officials of government have no clear-cut knowledge on how important assignment such as recruiting fresh hands into government establishments should be carried out. The Nigerian Immigration Service is a key security establishment that shouldn’t be treated with less seriousness. This is the agency that mounts our entry and exit points to ensure that those coming into the country are without any stain or have no ulterior motives. So, in view of its strategic role in the entire life of any nation, the Immigration Service or Department is expected to live above board and remain very exemplary in its dealings.
The sad stories emanating from different centres across the country where the tests were scheduled to hold call for grave concern. I have taken out time to read varying accounts of a few Nigerians on the social media with regards to the NIS screening exercise. Expectedly, their narration vividly paints a picture of complete failure owing to lack of proper planning and coordination. To start with, reports from the Abuja National Stadium, venue for Abuja candidates are heart-troubling. The vehicular and human traffic was crazy. The entire airport road leading to the city centre was completely blocked. FRSC officials deployed to manage the situation were helpless. They just couldn’t control the increasing crowd.
The crowd was massive. The sea of heads captured by the camera lenses of some applicants is frightening. The Abuja National Stadium with a 60,000 seating capacity couldn’t contain applicants as they stretched beyond Games Village extending to Area 1 and the popular Wonderland Amusement Park area. Expectedly, the mad rush by some applicants to gain entry into the main bowl of the stadium resulted in what many described as partial stampede. Unfortunately, a total of seven precious lives were lost in Abuja alone, while applicants totaling 38 sustained varying degree of injuries. We learnt both the dead and injured were taken to the National hospital. It was a terrible situation in Abuja. This narration by a veteran labour reporter and journalist, Mrs. Juliana Taiwo Obalonye says it all. “It’s incredible what I just witnessed at the Stadium Abuja. All the area from Berger, Area 1, Games Village, Lugbe! All blocked and people have resorted to either driving one way or coming down or trekking for those without cars! Reason? Immigration Exams taking place at the national stadium!
“It is scary because I actually thought it was a church programme! But these are jobless Nigerians – pregnant women, youths, middle age Nigerians! There is crisis in this country! I’m told same thing is happening nationwide. How many is the immigration going to employ among all these people? What sought of thing is this? Again no proper traffic planning. There is chaos right here, complete indiscipline and break down of law and order.
“Couldn’t this exam have been done online? Both the Immigration and the Interior of Ministry have shown lack of capacity to organise exam and it’s a big shame!”
Hmmm! That was vintage Juliana of the Sun Newspapers angrily pouring out her mind. Unarguably, many Nigerians like my humble self share in her concern. The points she raised are very germane. The particular one that caught my attention most, was when she asked, “Couldn’t this exam have been done online?”
Out of curiosity, I sought to know the total number of vacant slots that the NIS management is preparing to fill through this recruitment exercise. The result was alarmingly devastating! The vacant slots are just 1500! Already, a total of 10 millions Nigerians applied for these positions! Hmmm! This is heartbreaking.
Let me also share with you an earlier concern raised by a young Nigerian with undying passion for youths, Haruna Abdullahi. He wrote, “Go to Abuja National stadium and see the wealth of our nation! There are about 200,000 people jostling for the immigration recruitment exercise. While I pity the head of the immigration, I urge that medical facilities be mobilized as there are likely going to be medical issues today, even security breakdown is a possibility”. He foresaw the danger that was looming and drew global attention to it. Not done yet, Haruna rhetorically thundered when he said, “Just wondering if we can have this multitude on the farm. If we can have this crowd on elections day! My God I am slightly an angry man. Where did we miss the road?” Questions upon questions one would say.
Another friend, Jonathan Inedu Hitler told a chilling story of how no fewer than five applicants had collapsed even before the exercise began in the ancient city of Lokoja, Kogi state this morning. The situation in the Centre of Excellence is unspeakable. The usually chaotic Lagos was completely shut down for several hours.
What is really the problem? Why are most Nigerians just too interested in finding their ways into government agencies at all cost? Like I noted somewhere earlier today, let’s not be deceived. The frightening number of job seekers who turned up for the Nigeria Immigration Service recruitment test is not a true reflection of the unemployment crisis in Nigeria. It’s just the craze for Government job which many believe is more secured. Amongst these job seekers are bankers, IT experts, journalists, doctors, nurses, technicians and other professionals.
I just cannot explain why a self employed hair stylist, fashion designer, visual artist, cab driver, writer, business tycoon or a make-up artist would choose to lock up his or her shop on grounds that he or she wants to go for the Nigerian Immigration Service recruitment test! Please let’s wake up. Most successful people that I’ve come to know and admire in life never worked in any government establishment, not even for an hour.