by Adanna Ibeh
After waiting endlessly for the so called Nigeria Immigration Exam, I found out just two days to the D-day that finally there would be one after all. I quickly logged online to see the requirements. They did not state anywhere that it was going to be like the “Gulder Ultimate Search” or in this case “The Immigration Ultimate Search.”
The exercise was humiliating and condescending. I felt worthless as a graduate. In fact I do not think there is any difference between graduates and non graduates in this country.
The time for the exam, according to them was 7am. When I got to the venue, that was when the joke started. I noticed that three out of five persons I passed on the road, or met in the cab, was putting on white shorts and shirt. I thought to myself that “maybe corps members have their CDS today.” Getting to the venue, I noticed that that was the converging point of all the white clad people.
I asked someone close by why everyone was on white.
“Dem say make we wia white, say we go do sports, run and jump to show dem say we fit physically and we also needed to get a doctor’s report supporting that fact,” he said.
My mouth dropped. “What rubbish! Why wasn’t all these stated? Are you testing my intellect or my fitness? Why would you put me through that rubbish when I have a report attesting to my fitness?” I thought to myself. My first instinct was to go back home, but I’m a Christian so I exercised faith. I believed I might be the “chosen one”. If only I had known!
The crowd I met at that stadium surpassed all I have seen in my entire life. I might be exaggerating a bit, but my thoughts were that three stadiums can be filled to capacity with the human beings who populated that place, from the old to the young, the pregnant and even the aged… just name it. It was a boom for business as food vendors and hawkers seemed to be the only ones smiling. Graduates sat on the bare floor under the scorching heat of the sun and we gladly bought a sachet of “pure water” for N50.
It dawned on me right there in that stadia among the multitude of strange faces, that my country has failed me.
Finally at about 12 noon, we were asked to sign our acknowledgment forms. The process was dreadful. Just about 10 Immigration officials signing forms for that ocean of people. It was a security nightmare. I considered the state of insecurity in the country. I looked around and there was no military presence, just a few policemen prancing about, looking at us with pity. Nobody – of course – was searched while entering the stadium, and I reasoned that, “If one of these Boko Haram terrorists come here now, it’s all over o, or if someone raises an alarm, its gonna end badly.” But I persevered.
When I got into d stadium, there were just seats, no tables. That, I think, was the breaking point for me. “Am I supposed to write on my knees?” I said aloud to no one in particular. Then who is going to invigilate this exam and importantly, who is going to mark it? It clicked at that moment – It was all a sham. Those who will finally get the job were at home, sleeping while the ogas at the top do the workings for them. At that point, I left.
The fact is that hardly had I got to the junction when I heard a commotion, people were running helter skelter. Up till this moment, I do not know what caused the stampede in Port Harcourt but I was grateful I had left that place hen it happened. Grateful and sad.
I later learnt that some poor souls died due to the stampede. May their souls rest in peace and may their blood be on the heads of those who conjured up this national show of shame. I heard the minister of interior is putting together a worthless committee to look into the incident. These men have no shame or regard for human life.What happened to all the other matters that have been looked into? What happened when they looked into the last Immigration Recruitment exercise in 2008 when about 20 people died as well? Did we learn anything?
The minister of interior should be sacked immediately. Government should refund us our money and pay it into our accounts with bonus. And they should honour the dead that this country has killed. That will be a good start.