A few days ago, the news of a woman that was arrested by EFCC for defrauding a job seeker went viral. According to this account, the woman, Hajiya Hadiza Umar Abubakar, in 2019, promised her victim, Nuradeen Abubakar, an instant employment in EFCC. However, for this to happen, Nuradeen was asked to pay the sum of six million naira (N6,000,000) to her. Nuradeen paid three million naira in October 2019 and promised to balance up the remaining three million naira when he receives the appointment letter. It was said that Hajiya Hadiza promised him that the appointment letter will be out in two weeks time from the day of the payment. But that was nine months ago and Nuradeen is yet to see any letter.
The story of Nuradeen and Hajiya Hadiza is not new. We hear about people defrauding job seekers of money they don’t have. We also hear of fake recruiters that give phony appointment letters to their victims. Sometimes these people that defraud job seekers are workers in the said companies. Sometimes they are fraudsters that set up offices to take advantage of the bad condition of things in the country. Other times they are relatives of top officers in the concerned companies they performed phony recruitments for. Who they are or who they are not is not the issue right now. The fact remains that a lot of people are out there to rip off the unemployed among us.
But one question that is yet to be answered is, “Why do job seekers pay heavy amounts of money as bribes to secure jobs?”
I’ve asked this question several times and the answers I always received sound like, “Wait until you’re desperate for a job.” Anytime I receive an answer like this, it dawns on me that people are still ready to pay to land jobs. Can you imagine Nuradeen paying N6m for a job in a government agency? How much did they tell him EFCC officials are paid as salary? I mean, let’s look at this logically, if someone has N6m to spare for a job that may pay him about 100k or a little more than that in a month, don’t you think that it makes no sense at all? How did he raise that money? Why won’t that money be used as capital for a business? If you have N6m to spare, will you work for someone?
The more I consider the case of Nuradeen and Hajiya, the more I realise that our problem is complex. It is possible that Nuradeen wanted the EFCC job so badly because he has heard of “deals” they do there, which can fetch him several multiples of that money he will pay Hajiya. It is possible that he heard that he will receive a fat salary in EFCC even though he will not be going to work. It is possible that he has been made to believe that government paid jobs are the best sources of income. I don’t know what he has heard that pushed him into such a foolhardy act, but it is obvious that he has been misinformed.
The fact still remains that more and more people will face the same fate encountered by Nuradeen if something is not done. The problem we have here is that many Nigerians want to sit down in cosy offices and receive fat checks by the end of the month. These same people believe that when they get old, they will continue to receive fat checks as pension. How I wish they know better.
The only way to reduce this fraudulent act of creating phony jobs is by encouraging entrepreneurship among youths. It’s not that everybody should be an entrepreneur but at least many should delve into it. And the good thing is that the more entrepreneurs we have, the more jobs we can create. At least, this will reduce the rate by which jobseekers are swindled.
Of course I know that the government needs to provide an enabling environment for new businesses to flourish. But the non-enabling environment we have here has not been able to deter many business owners. So if some people can survive the harsh and unstable government policies in Nigeria, people like Nuradeen, who have money to throw about, should be encouraged to venture into businesses, that is, if they don’t have any.