Getting Three Jobs For Death Of One By Nasiru Suwaid
When I first saw the breaking news; getting three slots for the death of one, which came in the form of a passing news bites that usually frequent our televisions sets recently, carefully passing through without disrupting us from what we were already watching on the tube, I could almost have sworn it was a promo, of the type expert advertising agents are always wont to use to titillate gullible Nigerian public to patronize a product. Alas what I was reading, was actually the decision of the Federal Executive Council of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a kind of compensatory gesture to the family of the applicants who lost their lives, while attending employment examination of the Nigerian Immigration Service, an exercise that had turned into an embarrassing fiasco to the much touted employment policy of a civilian regime, getting wide international acclaim as transforming the Nigerian economy, despite the fact that the citizens are hardly feeling the impact of the positive data, charts and graphs highlighting the excellence of an economy in spiraling growth, even when it has not been able to affect and impact on the general poverty index of the country.
Actually, what happened last Saturday was that hundreds of thousands of unemployed youths, had taken advantage of the advertised to vacancies to participate in an employment examination in open spaces, such as football stadiums and public parks and most importantly, neither the organizers nor the participants had taken notice of the fact that normally, intellectual measuring assessments and exercises are usually conducted in confined spaces of a classroom type large halls, which could enable the organizers to monitor, observe and guard the conduct of the partakers against the usually human flaw of cheating, defrauding and compromising the whole exercise. But what was witnessed last week was far from this long forgotten ideal, rather, what Nigerians saw was a packed environment, with people sitting so close to each other, that to expect the work of anyone of them, to be different from the fellow sitting so closely side by side is to reduce the context of the exercise, into a process that was undertaken simply to achieve any other motive than to test the applicant for the ability to qualify as a personnel of the Nigerian Immigration Service.
Within the context of African tradition and indeed general human nature, death is eternal, it is irreplaceable and it is final, thus compensating a death is totally unheard of in this part of the world, thus for a government policy to project an attempt to compensate death is totally wrong, indeed, any mother who is in the height of bereavement, would find such gesture as equally offensive, because the question that will immediately be ringing on her head is whether that effort would bring back the lost loved soul. But, wasn’t it an accepted norm of the modern world, for an individual to even personally obtain death insurance vouchers, as an assurance to their family for compensation against lost income, the difference though is that in such instances, what is replaced is the aggregated lost income of the insured for the duration of years spent working and most importantly, it is the fruit of an individual’s labor, who had entered a contract and paid specified remittances from the earned income, a situation that is certain, agreed, accepted and formalized in form of a signed deed.
However, this is unlike the scenario in the case of the dead and need I say injured applicants, because, when the mishap happened, they were not employed by the interviewing organization, rather, they are trying to get employment into the border guarding agency. As such, any resultant death could not have elicited lost income, besides, how could you give employment as a compensatory gesture, without knowing them, assessing their capability, examining their ability and confirming whether they have the necessary academic and physical competence to perform the job offered. Indeed, what happens if the dead applicant does not have siblings or they are single children to the parents, also, would the child of a distant aunt or uncle being the only ones eligible, take care of the mother who lost her child in the national employment tragedy. Although it might seems like a caring gesture, but, this policy seems not to have been well thought through, before being unleashed to the guardians of those who have lost so much and it would seem heartless to leave them with a feeling of uncertainty, that could be easily exploited by far distant relations, especially, in country that has a history of such devilish culture of profiting from death of others.
The question though is what should have been done to the families who lost a loved one or even suffered from the injury of the child applicant, the answer is very simply, what happened was negligence pure and simple, thus its criminal prosecution and proving is usually accompanied with the payment of damages, thus satisfying the pain of injustice done and getting a monetary recompense to ease the pain.
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