Most of the Immigration jobs that hundreds of thousands turned up trying to get on Saturday have already been allocated to well-connected politicians, including state governors and federal lawmakers, sources told Daily Trust in Abuja yesterday.
Only 240 of the 4,556 slots at the Nigerian Immigration Service remained for the 522,6752 “ordinary” applicants who trooped to the test centres and caused a stampede in which at least 16 of them died.
The Immigration Service had said a total of 522,652 applicants turned up at the venues spread around the country, battling for 4,556 jobs.
A source briefed about the recruitment process, which is being handled by the Board of Immigration, Customs and Prisons, told Daily Trust that among those who were already allocated job slots are governors, senators, House of Representatives members and ministers.
“They shared all the positions among governors, senators and others. What remains for those ordinary job seekers was 240,” the source said.
Another source from one of the top anti-corruption agencies said the money collected from all the applicants amounted to about N7 billion.
“Look, each applicant paid N1,000. From the record 7 million applied, so they generated about N7 billion,” he said.
When contacted, spokesman for the Immigration Service Mr. Chukwuemeka Obuah said he was not aware of sharing of the job slots, as the recruitment process was not even handled by the service itself.
“I don’t know about that, I don’t know about the issue of slots. The issue of this recruitment exercise was undertaken by the board, the Nigerian Immigration Service did not operate the board,” Obuah said.
“What I know is that Nigerians lost their lives and it is tragic and unfortunate.”
Efforts to get Senate’s position were not successful as chairman of the Senate Interior Committee Atiku Bagudu did not answer telephone calls.
But the House of Representatives Interior Committee said if National Assembly members were given any allocation of job slots, they were entitled to them.
Committee chairman Rep Umar Bature (PDP, Sokoto) told Daily Trust by telephone yesterday: “People can say whatever they want to say.
The National Assembly members are members of the public. So if they are given slots, I think they are entitled to it. But that is the issue that we would look at when we meet with the Senate committee. But I think we should not be looking at the scapegoat,” he said.
He said the committee would investigate to find out causes of the incident.
On the criticism over monies collected from applicants, Bature defended the Immigration Service, saying all agencies routinely collect application form fees from job seekers.
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