An irate mob of job applicants in Ibadan, Oyo State almost lynched two fake officials of a purported Federal Inland Ports Authority (FIPA) for attempting to dupe them. The unemployed youths, including graduates, beat, stripped and paraded the suspects through the major streets of the metropolis, as they protested the attempt to take advantage of them.
A private radio station in the city had announced that Dry Ports was embarking on recruitment that would last for three days. Prospective applicants were directed to bring N2, 500, with originals of their credentials, in addition to presenting themselves for screening in white shorts, vest and tennis.
They must be aged between 25 and 45 years, the “Authority” purportedly further specified in a bulletin. By 7.00 a.m. that fateful day, hundreds of the job seekers had besieged Olubadan Stadium, Iyaganku venue. After waiting for officials of the agency to commence the exercise for almost four hours without luck, the applicants confronted the two persons, who allegedly presented themselves as the officials. They were, however, unable to prove their identities.
The duo were said to have started collecting the N2, 500 from each applicant, before they were asked to produce the staff of the agency. They later told the apprehensive applicants that they were merely friends of those recruiting for the agency, assuring them that the FIPA officials who were to conduct the screening were on their way to the venue.
One of them, who refused to disclose his name, said they were sent by FIPA officials to maintain stability, saying the exercise would still hold. “We are just friends of the officials, we are here to see that things were in order,” he said.Sensing foulplay, the angry job seekers descended on the two men, stripped them naked and beat them black and blue. They later paraded them round the streets of Ibadan , singing derisive songs, amid shouts of “ole, ole, ole (thief, thief, thief).”
They alleged the men had collected about N5 million, from them before they were exposed, adding that they would use them as example to teach those exploiting the economic hardship of the country to dupe Nigerians. The youths numbering about 2,000, took the protest to the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Dugbe and Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Agodi.
They warned media organisations to verify the claims of those bringing advertorials, in order not to be seen to have conspired to dupe the populace. An applicant, Mr. Thomas Ayoniyi, who said he learnt of the purported recruitment on the radio, said the announcement had raised his hope of a brighter future, regretting, however, that: “On getting here, we discovered that the so- called officials wanted to defraud us.”
He added: “Some of us have graduated since 2003 and needed the job badly, only for some people to think they can play on our intelligence.” Another applicant who pleaded anonymity, said he got to the venue before 9 am when the recruitment was to commence but that no official was seen. The aggrieved youths blamed the radio station that broadcast the advertisement, saying its management should have established the identity of the advertisers before airing it.
However, Daily Sun learnt that the state government had disclaimed the advert, saying it could not confirm tits authenticity earlier in the week. A release signed by the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr. Kola Balogun, had reportedly warned that the Nigeria Shippers Council, had claimed ignorance of the existence of such outfit and warned those looking for employment to beware.