An Economics Graduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, has narrated how she almost fell to a job scam at Alaka in Ikorodu, Lagos State, shortly after her national youth service.
Based on what was advertised on social media, Bolatito Adeniyi (not real name) had applied for several job opportunities but little did she know that one was fake.
She would soon be invited via SMS and email to an interview for the role of ‘Business Executive’ at ‘Side One Limited’ in mid-April.
She got to Imota and she couldn’t locate the place, so she rang the contact person again. The contact person told her the exact office she was headed is also called ‘Sam Jones’.
“It was someone in the neighbourhood who first hinted me about the danger in entering the building,” she said while narrating her ordeal to FIJ. “She told me the people who stay in there are ‘area boys.’”
Adeniyi asked a roadside vulcanizer for directions to ‘Sam Jones’, only for the vulcanizer to look at her funnily before asking what she wanted to do in there. When she replied that it was a job interview, the man pointed her in a certain direction.
Curious about the vulcanizer’s look, she asked another hijab-wearing woman, who also gave her a funny look before asking, “What’s a girl like you looking for at Sam Jones’?
She replied, “job interview”, so the woman pointed the fence of the place to her and warned her to be careful because Sam Jones is a notorious hideout for ‘hoodlums and thugs’.
Adeniyi hid somewhere inconspicuous, but from there she could see the gate of the said Sam Jones. She called the contact person again to say she was at the gate; she was told to wait, that someone would come out to lead her inside.
Few seconds later, two bare-chested, heavily-built guys opened the gate and peeped out to see if she was there.
“Immediately I saw them, I became finally convinced that the place was more than a hideout for thugs and area boys,” she said. “I looked for a bike to take me to the park so I could go home from there.”
The motorcycle rider, however, persuaded her to call the mobile number of the company’s Human Resource Manager again to verify the address.
“When the rider spoke with the employee on the phone, the feedback was that the rder was indeed at the right location and that I should be allowed in,” she said.
“I couldn’t go in alone. Instead, we stood by one side and we saw men going in and out of the building. I just thank God I didn’t enter the house. Judging from the look of the environment, something dishonest was going on there.”
FIJ’s check on the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) didn’t show any existing company as Side One Limited. The company with a similar name is, in fact, based in Abuja and not Lagos.
Nigerians are regular victims of job scams. While some may be defrauded of thousands or millions of naira before the reality dawns on them, some lose their lives in the process. A month after Adeniyi’s experience, Iniubong Umoren, a recent graduate of University of Uyo, was murdered while searching for a job on the outskirts of Akwa Ibom.
Umoren’s death generated widespread agitation on social media, resulting in the arrest of her suspected killer, Uduak Akpan.
Owing to rising unemployment figures, young Nigerians are often desperate to secure a living for themselves, rendering them easy prey for job fraudsters. According to the most recent unemployment report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in March 2021, a total of 23.18 million persons in Nigeria either did nothing or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed during the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020.
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