It is no longer news that over 15 job seeking young Nigerians lost their lives about a year ago in a botched recruitment exercise. The disturbing news is that the Federal Government is yet to match words with action as regards the promises made to the bereaved and the injured. The Nigerian Immigration Service advertised to recruit young Nigerians and demanded a fee of a thousand Naira from them to be paid into a designated account. The money was received from 600, 000 jobless Nigerians for only 4, 500 existing positions in the service. As if that was not bad enough, these hapless Young Nigerians were made to gather in different stadia across the states under the scorching sun with officers herding them like sheep, dishing out orders. Out of desperation for the jobs, stampede ensued in some centers, the weak and tired ones were trampled upon. At the end of the madness, over 15 were sent to their early graves while scores sustained injuries of various degrees.
The case of Mrs Sandra Amu who was said to be in her early stage of pregnancy is highly pathetic. The Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin was parked full with thousands of applicant milling around the mainbowl. In line with the directives that they must be on ground as early as 7am on that fateful day, she was early at the venue. But late in the afternoon, tragedy struck, the young mother was trampled and crushed to death, a result of the uncontrolled melee that ensued from a desperate and surging crowd of young and desperate job seekers. And the young mother died with the unborn baby! That was double tragedy for the Amus.
Touched by the criminal silence by the Federal Government towards the plight of the bereaved and injured, the Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole last week tried to wipe out their tears, he offered the soothing balm the traumatised family desperately needed. He gave the widower of late Mrs Amu a cheque for two million naira and offered employment to 11 of the 20 who sustained injuries at the Benin center. The governor also pledged legal assistance for those who want to sue for damages. No doubt, this is a government with human face.
So far, Edo is the first and only state in the federation that has moved to assist the victims of this recruitment of death. For this, the state government deserves applause from well-meaning Nigerians as a responsive and responsible government that cares about the welfare of its citizens. The Oshiomhole’s example is one perfect way to connect with the people. Little wonder that the people of Edo State, especially those at the grassroots have consistently maintained a cult-like support for the governor inspite of the noise from the opposition.
By March 24, it will be exactly one year when this incident occurred. The bereaved families and the injured are still in the cold, they are in pains without a word from the Federal government. To the Federal authorities, it’s as if the incident never occurred, no one sustained injury, let alone died from the debacle. This is the height of insensitivity on the part of the Federal Government. How do you convince the young ones who survived that terrible ordeal to be patriotic? How do you convince the bereaved families to believe in you as a government with all the unfulfilled promises, especially when you abandoned them at the time of grieve? More worrisome is the fact that some of those responsible for the national shame still saunter around as seeming untouchables. As if this criminal neglect is not painful enough, some of those who should have been embarrassed out of government have been rewarded with national honours. What a cruel world and a heartless government!
Even the so-called representatives of the people at the Senate showed less than a passing interest and concern for the plight of the bereaved and injured. They seem to be representing themselves rather than the people. If not, how else would one explain a situation whereby the Senate Committee on Internal Affairs held public hearing on this recruitment of death only to keep the report to gather dust on the shelve. Aside the monumental waste of public funds, the attitude of members of this committee is hardly a reflection of a truly responsible representatives of the people. Their seeming nonchalance stands condemnable.
The president and supposed father of the nation, Goodluck Jonathan, whose word is expected to be bond, in his usual rhetorics, condemned the role played by the immigration and the Internal Affairs Ministry in the recruitment tragedy. He went further to order immediate refund of the money collected from the applicants, automatic employment for immediate family members of the victims and the conduct of another exercise in a transparent and orderly manner. What is apparent in the president’s directives to have the money refunded is the fact that the collection is wrong in the first instance. Only an irresponsible government will take money from jobless youths, most of whom are from poor background. Sad enough, the jobs are not given, yet, the money not refunded despite a presidential directive. The president himself should feel concerned and embarrassed that his directives are not taken seriously let alone being obeyed. But he is busy smiling as if all is well. That is the president of a country that is at war, a country that is facing about the worst economic situation in its over 54 years existence. A serious president should know that the times do not call for smiles. One expected that those responsible for the unfortunate deaths ought to have been punished by now. Sadly, ever since these presidential pronouncements were made, they remain empty words without any enforcement. How would these ones or their love ones trust the government for anything again? A serious government should have done something reasonable to show that it cares, especially in an election year like this.
Only last month, a committee was put in place for another round of recruitment, that is, one year after! Even at that, potential applicants are still battling to access the advertised recruitment site. It is rather sad that we have a president whose orders are mere pronouncements that are hardly taken seriously by those he appointed to serve the people. Do we then blame the foreign media who call our president all sorts of unprintable names? Of course, no. As a person, I am particularly not optimistic about ever seeing our Chibok Girls again. This is not cheering anyway, but that is the reality, especially given the character of the man at the helms of affairs of the country. A government that cannot guarantee the protection of lives and property of its citizens is not worthy of its name.
On this recruitment of death, the federal government and the leadership of the senate committee on internal affairs should hide their faces in shame. They have failed Nigerians, they have failed humanity.

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