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Lessons from the Failed Immigration Screening Exercise in Nigeria.

We all heard the news of the immigration screening test held in Nigeria recently. We saw the shocking photos and we read the morbid happenings. You would have to be living under a hole not to have heard of the latest showcase of the intense degree of unemployment in Nigeria. But if you are still uninformed, allow me brief you.

The NIS registered over 2million applicants for a screening test, cramped them into different venues scattered over the 36 states of the federation, allowed them to scramble for the examination papers and then watched as they clawed each other…in some places, to death. According to the Vanguard, about 16 people have been reported dead from the stampede in the Lagos and Abuja exam centers.

Nigerian Immigration service

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What is the expression on your face? If you’re still in shock that sixteen people died during that chaos of an exam, then this extra juicy news will further jerk you. Each of those applicants registered with the sum of N1000 to be able to attend that show. Yes, you read this right! They paid to be allowed to die. And the show organizers raked home close to 2billion naira from the sorry, sorry show. Over 2 million applicants X N1000 registration fee = A bulging bank account for the NIS.

Since we’re still on figures, let me tell you another story about figures, this time they’re made off poor Nigerian students. The UNI-X (name of university withheld) hostel ballot system operates in such a system that each undergraduate student seeking a hostel buys a scratch card and logs on to the university hostel allocation site in order to gamble. The gamble is this: Over 20,000 students are applying for hostel spaces at the same time and the current hostels cannot accommodate up to 30% of that population. So all student hostel gamblers know that there is a huge possibility that they might not get the hostels but they go on and gamble because well, what are their other options? To dole out 200,000 for an off-campus accommodation? And again the organisers of the gamble game walk away with their huge profits. (20,000 X 1000 = N2000000).

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Immigration 2


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I finally thought of a statement that surmises all my feelings and it goes: What the h*** is this? Pardon my language( i never swear) but that is the exact description of the expression on my face.

What in the world is wrong with Nigeria? Is Nigeria a man with many hungry wives and children that still wants to marry more?

Don’t bother answering. Nobody can.

As the events of this immigration exam unfolded, many revelations sprung to light- some shocking, some expected but all necessary for us to understand where we are and how far back that position is. So, here goes my observations based on the NIS exam:

I want to comment on the outrageousness of the unemployment situation in Nigeria but some people might feel I am not qualified to pen down the despair and xxx that the unemployed feel. After all, I have never written a job test before. While still in the university, I was already making between N30000 to N40000 working on both graduate and undergraduate projects and immediately after graduation, I started a laundry service with a friend. My first white collar job came knocking while I was still building the business and I just simply slid into the office chair.

So, I truly might not have experienced the kind of hopelessness that unemployed graduates feel but I have observed a real pattern in this unemployment issue and I’m willing to share it with anyone who cares to listen. It is this:

  • Not everyone can get a white collar job.

Nigeria has told us that. Previous interview exams that featured large-turn ups of unemployed graduates for few positions have proved it and the immigration exam has sealed it. Until our nation develops itself to be able to accumulate the thousands of graduates it churns out each year, we will still continue to see starched shirts, carrying around files and knocking on company doors or worse, dead people in an interview stampede.

  • Skills will pay you better than a white collar job.

A friend of mine who graduated with a 2:2 was referred to someone in Shell for a possible job and after waiting for 4 hours, he was told by the Shell big man that he could not be employed because of his degree. He even added that my friend should have studied English so that he could have graduated with at least a 2.1, which was a more employable degree. But I have other friends who graduated with that attractive 2.1 and are still scouring the job market. And my friend? He currently owns an online creative agency and makes more from two projects than the average banker makes every month from working from thirty days.

  • Everything is an opportunity for politicians: The APC chieftains

It is not hard to see why the APC group will immediately “rejoice” at such a happening. The event is a perfect opportunity for them to jump up and point hands at the ruling party, PDP for allowing such a thing to happen. But I say: No, APC. Sit down! We can’t really say you could have done any better. You shouldn’t dishonor the dead by trying to use their deaths as a stepping stone to ascend the Nigerian governmental throne.

  • PR is twisted: This headline on Vanguard said “Immigration records smooth recruitment exercise, says report”

It’s ironic coming from me right? After-all PR is what I do for a living.

Smooth? Really? I was confused. Smooth stampede or smooth deaths?? The Minister actually came out to say that the immigration exam where over 16 people were reported dead was successful.

As we ponder on the events of the last few days and watch the fiasco that will play out at the top to make us forget the events, we can only but hope, dream and do what we can for the future of our country…Nigeria

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Ifeanyi Abraham
Ifeanyi Abraham
Ifeanyi Abraham is the Founder,, and The Beverage Room. Entrepreneur, Event Host and Speaker. He has led and consulted on PR, Communication and Marketing at top African companies like Konga, eTranzact, Jumia, iRokotv, etc. In the Middle east, he has led sales and marketing at top recruitment companies and branding agencies. He is also a contributor to CNN, HuffingtonPost, Techmoran and other media platforms. He has hosted over 50 events in 20 cities. A startup believer with his major motivation being to cause positive changes in the evolving world of technology and business with his often crazy/genius ideas and via constructive collaborations.

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