Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
With the high level of unemployment, some residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have devised a new form of business that allows them new way to fleece unsuspecting youths who are eager to get jobs. These job scammers have taken over most of the relaxation parks in Wuse, Maitama and Banex, where they meet with their clients or victims.
This is how they operate. The scammers print their phone contacts and paste on strategic locations in the city. The posters inform applicants of phony vacancies and salaries.
When applicants call the numbers on posters they are asked to come and fill forms and provide their contact addresses and telephone numbers. The applicants pay while filling the forms. The amount they pay is determined by the nature of job they are looking for.
Most of the applicants are ladies especially those with low educational background or even without. Such people are looking for jobs as domestic servants, sales girl or nannies. They end up losing the little money they have.
Some of the victims who spoke with our correspondent confessed narrated how they were ripped off. After collecting some money the agents would organise and conduct interviews for non-existent jobs. They would tell the applicants they would be communicated.
Anna Oloche from Mpape said she never suspected that the job agents were fraudsters. She lamented that all the money she relocated to Abuja with, was collected from her. Although she said they asked her to resume work at a place but she later discovered that the place was non-existent. She was made to run for her life the day she went to her so-called new work place:
“When I left my village for Abuja, I was made to believe that once I get here that jobs will be looking for me even with my O’ level. But when I got here, I met a different thing altogether. A neighbour told me that to get a job, I must pass through an agent, so she introduced me to one.
“The first day I paid N5000 and handed my documents to them. After two weeks I was called for an interview, which we did. At the end of it, they said the kind of person they needed was not there.
“The agent called me and said if am still interested in getting a job that l needed to pay another money. They said my earlier payment has expired. That was how I kept paying till they got me one job that they said the only thing I would be doing is washing.
“I agreed since it was only washing but when I got there, the type of clothes I saw I became afraid. It was as if it was a planned matter, even in one week I won›t be able to wash all. That was how I quietly disappeared.”
Vicent Hellen, a sachet water seller in Utako shared her experience: “Those agents are all thieves, before I ventured into this pure water business, they really dealt with me. I tried about three different agents they collected my money and kept promising me.
“I will never advice anybody that is looking for job not to go there. If you can’t look for it yourself and you don’t have a skill, you better go and start a business with that money you want to give them or else you will regret it.”
Ladi Agbo from Kuje lamented how these agents collected her money and invited her to an interview: “They were the ones that got the job for me. I was not comfortable so I resigned and went back to them that I needed another job that I can’t continue with that one.
“They asked me to pay, which I did. To my greatest surprise they called me for an interview only for me to discover that it was same job. When I complained they said that my money has expired that if Iam still interested that I must renew my payment. That was how I left them.”
However, while some are accusing the agents of ripping them off some are full of praise for the agents. Obira Janet said when she came to Abuja newly, she got her job through a notice she read on the wall around Wuse Market: “These agents are not thieves. They are really helping youths like me, if not for them maybe by now I must have gone back to my village.”
Joyobe Aji also agreed: “In my case these agents are sent from God to change my story because the of work they got me, the people took me in like their blood. Yes, some may be fake because anywhere you have good things there will also be imitation.”
Most of the agents contacted refused to speak. But a businessman in one of the gardens in Banex, Andrew Odoh, confessed that he feels that the youths are benefiting from their services based on the number of youths trooping to see them everyday