7th August, 2011
Violence and alleged hoarding of forms trail the planned recruitment of 10,000 unemployed job seekers in Ogun state, as the exercise enters its second week.
Reports of violence was recorded in Abeokuta in Abeokuta South, Akomoje in Abeokuta North, Odeda in Odeda, Ijebu Igbo in Ijebu North, Ijebu Ode,Ogbere in Ijebu East and Ogun waterside council areas.
In Ijebu Ode, the use of teargas by policemen to control anxious job seekers on Friday, threw the council secretariat, at Itoro into pandemonium and people ran into safety.
Several people who were caught by the teargas smoke ran into nearby homes to get kerosene to ameliorate the pains in their eyes.
Our correspondent gathered that in Abeokuta South local government council, at least 10 job seekers were wounded as dangerous weapons were freely used by the youth in their bid to protest against what they regarded as anomalies from the council officials in the distribution of the forms.
In Ijebu Igbo, there were reports about hoarding of employment forms by stalwarts of the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN. The hoarding of 500 forms sent to the council area drew the ire of the anxious job seekers who protested. It was widely speculated also that some council bosses were selling the forms at the rate of N500.
One of the affected youths who spoke under anonymity confirmed that the officials were demanding money from them and also asked them to produce their political party identity cards.
â€The officials were asking money from us, they even told some people to produce party ID cards. We heard that the forms had been taken to Ward Secretariats.â€
In Odeda local government area, it was divine intervention that saved the life of the Head of Local Government Administration (HOLGA), Dr. Oguntade as the ACN chairman in the area, whose name could not be ascertained, was ready to beat him up for not releasing the forms to him.
An eyewitness narrated that,”only God saved the man, he was whisked away by some council staff who discovered that the ACN chieftain is planning to beat him as he has been calling him all sorts of names. The forms were later released to him by the HOLGA when he threatened to kill him. We were shocked about the attitude of this party chairman. He maintained that his party members will get the forms first before any other person and he took the forms away.”
Indication that the state government had waded into the distribution process emerged on Sunday, as it has directed that the forms can be downloaded and filled on line.
In a press statement issued during the weekend, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Mrs Funmi Wakama, stated that â€œthe state government has made available online application forms for the 10,000 jobs announced by Governor Ibikunle Amosun. Indigenes of the state can apply via the website, www.ogunstate.gov.ng.”
She disclosed that the governor has reiterated the abolition of payment of fees for the application forms for government jobs, warning that, â€œany public official that violates this policy shall be sanctioned,â€ the governor was quoted as having said.
Some of the job seekers have been applying successfully through with the on-line process, as Damilola Obidipe told our Correspondent that the she was successful on Saturday.
Sen. Amosun promised during his inaugural address to employ 10,000 youths within his first 100 days in office. The recruitment exercise is to cut across all the local government areas of the state.
By Abiodun Onafuye/ Abeokuta