Monday, July 14, 2008

At least a dozen people have died during a recruitment drive for the Nigerian Immigration Service

Four people were killed in a stampede at the recruitment centre in Enugu in Nigeria's south-east. Recruiters closed a gate to the government building where candidates were to sit an aptitude test. More than 130,000 candidates applied for 1,260 jobs. Government jobs are prized for their regular salaries and good benefits. There are few good employment prospects for the many thousands of people who graduate from colleges and universities each year. The sister of one of the applicants who died at a recruitment in Kaduna in Nigeria's Northern region said the situation facing job seeking graduates was terrible. "After struggling through school, you have unemployment staring you in the face, and when you finally think succour has come to provide you with employment, the recruitment leads you to your grave," said Ramatu Mohammed Barakallahu. "That is the pathetic story of the poor in our country." Four people also died in Asaba, in the Niger Delta region, during a fitness test where candidates had to run miles in the hottest part of the day. Four people were also reported to have been crushed in an stampede in Ilorin in the central region of the country. Other people died during fitness tests in Kaduna and in Abia and Anambra in the east, but the exact number was unclear. Economic reforms over the last eight years have seen the civil service cut in size. The government is still the largest single employer in Nigeria, but a large number of Nigeria's 140m population rely on the informal economy for their living.

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