The All Progressives Congress has said it is greatly distressed at the deaths of 19 job seekers at the venues of the Nigerian Immigration Service job test on Saturday, calling it a direct consequence of 15 years of misrule by the PDP-led federal government.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the Minister of Interior must bear direct responsibility for the needless deaths by immediately stepping down from his post, if he has any honour left, or be fired.
APC commiserated with the families of the victims and wished those who were injured a speedy recovery.
It said, “Despite huge yearly budgets rolled out since 1999, the PDP-led federal government has failed to create jobs for our teeming youth, and the number of those who are jobless has now reached such an alarming rate that a job emergency may have to be declared to avert an impending cataclysm.
”Massive mindless looting of the public treasury has seen funds that could have been used to create millions of jobs end up in the deep pockets of corrupt government and PDP officials, without any consequence for the thieves, while the incompetent federal government led by a clueless President continues to deceive the public with cooked figures showing job creation where indeed there have been job losses,.
”Today, sadly, the truth has been laid bare: 5,000 or so vacancies declared by NIS have attracted over six million applicants, from which over half a million was shortlisted, according to published reports, and the desperation of our youth to eke out a decent living has been exploited by a villainous government that forced each applicant to cough out N1,000 thus raking in N6bn from jobless people,” the party said.
“Is it true that the Minister directly presided over the recruitment and money-making venture? Could this have been part of the government’s fund-raising measures for the 2015 elections? Why was a huge number of applicants invited for only 5,000 jobs or less? Why was such a shoddy arrangement made for the test when so many people were invited? Could the test not have been done in batches to avoid a stampede? How much indeed was realised from this glaring extortion of job seekers? What happened to the money?
“An investigation into the needless deaths of our youth, under a government that has failed them in every respect, must seek to answer those questions and recommend ways to avoid a recurrence. At least if a government cannot create jobs, it must neither profit from its incompetence nor send the victims of its ineptitude to their early graves.”
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives on Sunday called for investigations into the stampede that claimed 18 lives at the venues of the recruitment exercise by the Nigeria Immigration Service on Saturday.
The House sought to know the “immediate and remote” causes of the deaths.
The Speaker of the House, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, who made the call in Abuja, described the death of the young job seekers as “sorrowful and regrettable.”
He added that the tragedy was “unfortunate” because the only crime the deceased committed was that they went searching for jobs that would “better their lot and that of their loved ones.”
Tambuwal, who condoled with the families of the victims, advised the NIS and other agencies planing to recruit in the future to ensure that such a tragedy did not occur again.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Imam Imam, the speaker also advised government to collaborate with the private sector to address the unemployment challenges in the country.