Nigeria Jobs Drive That Led to Deadly Stampedes Lacked Funding

Candidates in a 2014 recruitment drive in Nigeria that resulted in a stampede that killed 15 people were asked to pay to apply for openings because the service had no funds, a former immigration official said.

More than 522,000 people paid 1,000 naira ($5) each to apply for about 4,500 jobs at a time when one out of every six people were estimated to be unemployed. Applicants died in stampedes that broke out at test centers in the cities of Benin and Port Harcourt.

“The service had no money for any recruitment at that time," former Nigerian Immigration Service Comptroller-General David Paradang told a court in the capital Abuja, according to a statement Saturday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Paradang was testifying at a trial where former Minister of Interior Abba Moro faces fraud allegations over the incident.

"The money could not even rent a venue or be enough to make provisions for ambulances, let alone pay the allowances” of test supervisors, Paradang is quoted as saying.

Investigations by the EFCC have brought top officials of former President Goodluck Jonathan under scrutiny over the past year. Jonathan lost the 2015 election to President Muhammadu Buhari who campaigned on an anti-corruption platform. Jonathan told Bloomberg Monday that he was himself being investigated, declining to say what those investigations might reveal.

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