29th November, 2010
The Police in Lagos State, South West Nigeria, have launched investigation into theÂ activities of fake employment agencies set up to swindle job seekers in the state.
P.M.NEWS investigation across the state revealed that fake employment agenciesÂ abound all over Lagos and have been duping desperate job seekers of their money.
The mode of operation of the fake job agencies involves renting a small apartmentÂ which is converted to an office. After this, they will paste cardboard papers atÂ strategic bus stops offering vacancies for job seekers.
These agents usually put their phone numbers on the cardboard papers without theirÂ addresses.
â€œThey also get newspapers which publish vacancies every week. They then ask thoseÂ seeking for employment to go there, giving the impression that they were contractedÂ for the task,â€ says Dele, a resident of Lagos who had worked in such agenciesÂ before.
â€œAfter paying a certain amount of money to the fraudsters, they will collect yourÂ certificates and ask you to come back. That is the last time you will see them,â€ heÂ added.
Speaking on the development, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba,Â said: â€œWe have heard about these fraudsters and we are going after them.Â There areÂ two ways of getting involved, either the victim reports directly to us and we takeÂ action or we get intelligent information that something is happening and we carryÂ out what is called â€˜a sting operationâ€™.
â€œI know that in the past, we had a case that was reported to us and we take action.Â We have also had experiences in the past where were we had to use undercoverÂ operatives to apply and we make arrests. I will also want to advise the public thatÂ if you have been a victim or about to be swindled and you get to know about it,Â there is no better way to seek justice than to report to the police so that we canÂ act and act appropriately.
â€œIf the people refuse to speak to us about their experiences or fail to report toÂ us, then we might not be able to do much. Victims must get in touch with the policeÂ to be able to bring perpetrators to book and ensure that innocent people do notÂ continue to fall victim to these fraudsters.â€
Mba added: â€œWe want members of the public not to hesitate to report cases like thisÂ to the nearest police station, office of the Commissioner of Police or the office ofÂ the PPRO.â€
Speaking on whether those arrested in the past were prosecuted, the Lagos policeÂ spokesman responded in the affirmative, saying: â€œWe prosecuted someone from theÂ Surulere axis of the state. You know, for the prosecution to succeed, we will needÂ the full cooperation of the victims, to stand as witnesses for the state, the policeÂ and the prosecution.
â€œTherefore, it will take all of us working together to be able to put an end to thisÂ activities.Â The police cannot do it alone. We will need the full cooperation of theÂ members of the public and the media to overcome this,â€ he said.
It was learnt that several victims are currently stuck in Lagos with no money to goÂ back to their bases after they were duped by fake employment agencies.
It was gathered that while big agencies register with the Corporate AffairsÂ Commission, CAC, in Abuja, small employment agencies do not bother.
â€” Eromosele EbhomeleÂ Â & Jamiu Yisa