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Saturday, 28 January 2017

Investigation: Inside the thriving business of job scam in Nigeria (photos, video)

It was a great wedding ceremony for Ademola Dare and his bride Lolade in the city of Ibadan, Oyo state. She moved into his room and parlour bedroom in the Mpape area of Abuja soon after. However, in less than six weeks, she became pregnant, and in need of medical attention. This was when it dawned on Ademola that he needs to get a better paid job.

"After our wedding, my wife got pregnant. We had to visit the hospital daily because of some medical issues that needed attention at the early stage of her pregnancy and needed more money to feed the two of us and pay for medical bills, so I started searching for a new job.

"I fell prey to people who capitalized on my predicament by demanding for money from me to obtain form in return for a job."

Victims of fake job alert in Lagos
When Ademola moved to seek a new job to help his young family, he was oblivious to job scams, parting with some of his savings - he paid over N20,000 to different job agents without any success. He was later forced to move down to Lagos to seek greener pastures where his woes were compounded.

The undercover investigation by Aderonke Bello spread over months has revealed that scammers are cashing in millions of naira monthly from unsuspecting job seekers in Nigeria. Some of whom posed as HR experts asking desperate victims to pay money to enable them secure a job or a long-term career.

Unemployment in Nigeria

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the rate of employment in Nigeria skyrocketed in the year 2016, leaving qualified persons hopeless, demoralized and desperate.

The bureau declares that 1.5 million Nigerians were unemployed in the first quarter of 2016. The unemployment rate has grown from 10.5% in the last quarter of 2016 to 12.1%.

A breakdown of unemployment by NAIJ.com revealed that unemployment has hit an all-time high in the past 10 years in 2016.

“The rising rate of job scams in Nigeria is greatly due to the high level of unemployment in the country. This can also be attributed to the high level of competition for available jobs, and desperation of getting well-paying jobs outside of the due process of applying for a job and securing an interview. These create an avenue for opportunists to take advantage of unsuspecting jobseekers with the aim of generating revenue,” Olalekan Olude, the co-founder of HR Company Jobberman.com told NAIJ.com.

A former Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, David Parradang, in 2015 urged job seekers to disregard money-for-job offers by individuals, saying they are scams. Many desperate youths had fallen prey before this statement was released.

Recently, thousands of unemployed and desperate graduates fall victim to fake job alerts circulated on whatsapp without investigating the source, hoping to secure call center operator jobs with a bank in Lagos and other major cities. Some people travelled from other states of the federation to discover the advertised job is a prank.

When the Buhari-led government was coming on board, amongst their numerous election promises was the provision of three million jobs for unemployed youths. Reverse was the case regrettably as the rate of unemployment went up.

However, the head of information at the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Mr Edmund Onwuliri, tells NAIJ.com that it is an unfortunate situation for recruitments to take place in obscure places across the federation.

“I see the posters too, workers needed, you don’t know where they are and you call and they start directing you. Ideally someone who want to recruit should be able to find a public domain to place information with verifiable locations. Why recruit in obscure places?, it is unfortunate. Over time, people think the NDE fix people in existing vacancies, we create self employment through skills training.”

Jobseekers desperation

In order to make ends meet, unemployed Nigerians resort to different kinds of means to get paid jobs not minding the job hazards or

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