29th November, 2010
Swindlers have turned to setting up fake employment agencies to dupe innocent job seekers, Eromosele Ebhomele examines the trend
Rachael Ajayi is frustrated and wants to go back to Ondo State from where she had come to Lagos in search of a job.
The Accounting graduate of Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State, is one of the several million unemployed Nigerians who have been swindled by fraudulent employment agencies in Lagos State.
P.M.NEWS investigations revealed that these agencies are scattered all over the state and their major focus is to further milk the desperate job seekers of their money.
Their mode of operation include registering with the Corporate Affairs Commission as a multi-dimensional business venture, only for them to engage in this illicit act.
P.M.NEWS learnt that while the big agencies register with the CAC, the smaller ones do not register. They only give their agencies names and then begin their business.
After renting a shop which they often convert to an office, they then go to populated areas in the state where they paste cardboards detailing fictitious vacancy opportunities. They announce the positions and entice prospective applicants with amounts to be paid them as salaries if they are eventually employed.
For example, a position for factory worker could have N35,000 as salary while that of a company driver could have up to N50,000 apart from payment for overtime and other bonuses. These agents then put their phone numbers on the cardboard papers, but without their addresses.
For those agencies that have the money, they advertise the positions in newspapers. Sometimes, the agencies advertise the same positions week after week using different names and addresses as well as phone numbers.
When an applicant eventually falls prey, the applicant is made to pay through the nose just for jobs that are non-existent.
Recounting her experience in the hands of the frivolous employment agencies, the 27-year-old Rachael told P.M.NEWS that after her National Youth Service Corps Programme three years ago, she came to Lagos believing that she would get a job.
â€œOn arrival, I stayed with a childhood friend in Oshodi and three months after I got to Lagos, I had my first bad experience.
â€œI went through a newspaper and saw some vacancies and applied through the internet. Almost immediately, I got a response that my resume had been accepted. Few minutes later, somebody called me to come to a place in Isolo the next day and on getting there I saw many other people waiting. We all did a test.â€
After the test, the applicants were all asked to register with N5,000.
â€œThey told those who did not have enough money on them to come back with the money. This amount would expire in three months and you would be asked to pay another one as consultancy fees,â€ she said.
Despite patronising the agency for one year, she did not get any job and they continued to tell her that their clients do not have any vacant position that fitted her qualification.
Since then, she has continued endlessly in search of jobs. While some would promise to get back to her, others would only promise her get a job in exchange for sex. â€œIt would be better to go back and seek for assistance from my elder ones so I can begin a little business,â€ she said.
For Chidimma Azuka, she realised she had been swindled after she had parted with N80,000 as a job seeker.
Her travails began when she saw a vacancy advertisement in a national newspaper. â€œThe advertisement was very attractive and asked that prospective applicants come with their resume in person,â€ she narrated.
When she got to the address in Alausa, she said she was told by a man in the office that she would not need to be interviewed as the company needed marketers which she had applied for. The man added that the company wanted beautiful girls who could sell their products.
She was then asked to pay a consultation and registration fee. â€œBy the time I left the place that day, I had spent more than N20,000. That was how I continued send money.
â€œThere was a time he asked me to send N40,000 for him to process my passport because, according to him, the company, which name he refused to tell me, needed it since I would sometimes be travelling out of the country. I sent it not knowing I was being swindled.
â€œWhen I discovered that nothing was coming out of it, I decided to go and ask for my money, but he refused to give it to me asking me to go anywhere I liked and get him arrested. He asked me if signed any document that he would get me any job.
â€œResidents of the area then advised me not to take action because he has a mutual relationship with law enforcement agents.
P.M.NEWS also found out that some of these agencies do not really have clients who they consult for. â€œWhat they do is to get newspapers which publish vacancies every week. They then ask those seeking for employment to go there giving the impression that they were contracted for the task,â€ says Dele, a resident of Lagos who had worked in such agencies before.
Dele said he left the job after one year when â€œmy conscience could no longer carry it. Some of these job seekers would come to our office and leave frustrated when their hopes get dashed.
â€œSome of them would even do anything including sleeping with my Oga just to get the job without realising that there is no job in the first place.â€
On how the act can be stopped, Dele maintained that as long as there is unemployment which is already put at 90 million in a recent report, fraudsters in the business would continue to make money.
He only advised job seekers to be extremely vigilant. â€œThey should stop patronising those who would tell them they have vacancy for almost all the positions in a company,â€ he advised.