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Agony, deaths at immigration job test in Abuja

Abah, who applied for the post of Immigration Assistant II CON PASS 03, said because the government does not take the masses seriously they are…

Abah, who applied for the post of Immigration Assistant II CON PASS 03, said because the government does not take the masses seriously they are careless about the number of casualties recorded at the venue.
“Four days ago I got the beating of my life in Gwagwalada, just because I wanted to buy fuel, and now today I am here again at this life threatening place struggling to write a test I know I stand less than one percent chance of getting,” he said.
The Nigerian Immigration Service had invited applicants, who applied to join the service for a test on Saturday. The test, which was scheduled to start at 7a.m. had some candidates there before 5a.m. and as at 8a.m. all roads leading to National Stadium, Abuja was blocked.
Another applicant, Jimoh Ayo, said the population of those who came for the test was more than the capacity of the stadium. The stadium was filled to the brim and yet candidates were seen trouping in while overwhelming applicants were still outside.
“If you go inside, you will see a massive population of the candidates, one would think it’s an entire population of a state that is here for the test, we had to squeeze our way to get in, people were falling and fainting. A lady just passed out beside me and I just didn’t know what to do. I had to save myself first,” he said.
City News gathered that about seven applicants died in the stampede while several others were injured. Fire Service and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) ambulances were seen taking victims to the hospital. Among the casualties were pregnant women, and nursing mothers.
Abubakar Dangana also a candidate said as long as federal government keeps running away from addressing unemployment challenges amongst other challenges the country is facing, calamities like this would keep occurring. He lamented that he graduated with a degree in Business Administration from the University three years ago and has not secured any job since then.
“I had to find something to do on my own, since government is not serious about elevating the status of the masses, just take a look at the number of candidates here, it’s alarming and sad. We have to just be at the mercy of government.”
Usman Yusuf, a concerned father who came to the venue as soon as he heard of the stampede to look for his daughter, said he was alarmed when he heard there was a stampede, and could not reach his daughter on the phone.
“I saw the situation on my other daughter’s Facebook post and it was shocking. I then tried to come for my daughter, who came here to write the test but I could not reach her on the phone that was when I got scared, left Lugbe to come here to verify,” Yusuf said.
Mr Yusuf, who said the population of applicants was terrifying, faulted the Nigerian Immigration Service for not breaking the examination venues down.
“I don’t know why government officials keep acting like they are above the law, the Immigration Service officials have a record of the number of candidates that applied and they know what how many candidates they were expecting and yet invited everybody to the same venue, endangering the lives of the masses. Our own supposed government not having regard for our lives,” he lamented.
Some of the candidates, who got to the scene and saw the situation on ground turned back and decided to go back home. Some of them, who spoke to our reporter, said the test was a sham, adding that the exercise was an unnecessary and needless waste of time and shows the gap between the masses and the government.
Hafeez  Jimoh returned home on seeing the mammoth at the centre, “how can a responsible government allow such an atrocity like this happen, there were three posts that was advertised for, in which the candidates applied for, why couldn’t they have broken it down into three different days and venues.”
“Credibility and accountability has lost its meaning, the immigration officials want to justify the N1,000 fee they charged candidates but is it worth it? One life lost here is truly sad, but yet we are counting six and some are still in the hospital, it is truly tragic,” Jimoh said.
Another lady, Folashade Raheem, said she didn’t apply for the test but came thinking she might have a chance of writing the test, but the population of those who applied was to many and terrifying.
“At first, I thought people would embarrass themselves here, but then the news of pregnant women dying is really the height of it, it then hit me that it was no more a laughing matter. We simply mean nothing to the government and they need to wake up and at least pretend to care about the masses,” she angrily said.
In the stadium, while most applicants were seen already seated waiting for the test to be conducted, some were using the opportunity to familiarize and make friends.  Others were seen playing football in the pitch, while some held a towel with the N1000 note logo going round the pitch protesting a refund of their money.
Food vendors and pure water sellers, who made their way inside the stadium, were seen making brisk business as there was high patronage and prices of these goods were inflated.
City News gathered that caned coke was sold for N250, gala was sold for N150, bottled water wet for N150, while two sachets of water went for N50. A plate of Semovita was sold for N400 while a plate of rice without meat was sold for N250.
A piece of pencil, sharpener and eraser went for N50 each. One candidate Julianna Gabriel, who was selling pure water, said she came to the venue with just N1000, but started selling pure water to the candidates and which has earned N600 extra.
“I would go outside the gate and buy a bag of pure water from those selling and would come back into the stadium and sell to my fellow colleagues, who are too exhausted to move or go and buy for themselves. I sold two pure water for N50 each making a profit of N15 per one. It was an opportunity and I am glad I took the chance. But I am just sad about the casualties that was recorded,” she said. 

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