The motive by people to take advantage of one another when one is in need has become a norm which is not synonymous to Nigeria only. Growing up, we were inundated with overwhelming stories about how one needed to pay graft to get something done, even if you were legally entitled to such.
One of such areas is the advent of scratch card business in Nigeria. The scratch card industry which took off effectively on March 31, 2005 has grown from nothing to an estimated N11.7 billion annually. It will be recalled that the ban on importation of scratch card into Nigeria formally took off in March 31, 2005. Over 15 companies were granted permission by the Ministry of Communications to print scratch cards locally.
In 2004, Ms. Ann Bresnahan, CEO of Startech Connections, Abuja, a telecom operator stated that a total of one billion cards were used in Nigeria in 2004 while MTN Nigeria, Glo Mobile and Celtel Nigeria consume more than one million scratch cards monthly. This estimate does not include the scratch cards consume by private telecom operators, popularly known as PTOs in Nigeria. Besides, some examination bodies in the country use scratch cards for the purchase and administration of their examinations. Among them are: Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and West African Examination Council (WAEC).
Overnight scratch became the order of the day, you need a scratch card to do anything in Nigeria. The scratch card business went on neither unhindered nor supervised by any relevant government agencies. You need a job, buy a scratch card, you want to join a football academy or talent hunt show, buy a scratch card, you want to contest in a beauty pageant, buy a scratch card and you want anything in the educational sector, buy a scratch card.
When Oceanic Bank announced the launch of it Oceanic Football Talent hunt with the scratch card initiative, it was nothing but taking advantage of thousands of football loving talents across the country. The bank instituted what could be termed as a “football beauty pagent” with no one asking how many applicants actually bought the scratch cards. I still maintain there is an ethical issue with the bank’s decision to collect money from applicants.
For years, Nigeria’s leading retail banks have wooed customers with sweepstakes and lotteries. First Bank, Union Bank, UBA, Bank PHB, Skye Bank, Intercontinental bank, Oceanic Bank, Afribank and company have all engaged in this unethical exploitation of customers. Intercontinental was notorious for rigged lotteries that produced hundreds of winners. Diamond Bank claims that it is giving away 50 million naira to lucky customers. GTBank and Zenith Bank must be commended for refusing to indulge in this unethical practice.
The irony of it all is the government has joined in this scam to scheme every penny out of the poor masses that are in need, instead of providing an environment for watchdogs to scrutinise this transactions as well as jobs. It is absurd and unheard of anywhere that a citizen of a nation will be required to pay to serve his country especially when he will be putting his life on line. It is in Nigeria that you have to pay for application to join the police or serve in the army. How do we drive patriotism when you pay for application forms to join the police and end up buying your uniforms with you personal funds?
JOIN THE NIGERIA POLICE
Sales of application scratch cards for police recruitment will commence on 8th April 2009 and close 1st of May, 2009. It is open to graduates of polytechnics and universities. Nation wide screening will take place at all state police commands on 11th May 2009.
To get the scratch card for registration
HOW TO APPLY FOR THE NIGERIA POLICE
To apply for any of the advertised positions, you must purchase an Application Scratch Card (To get the scratch card call
With your Application Scratch Cards in your hand, carefully scratch off the “Scratch Off Panel” behind the card and click on any of the category pictures on the homepage.
Insert the Serial and PIN number of your card in to the appropriate boxes and hit the verify button. If you have a used or invalid card, it would give you an error message. If you have provided a valid card, it would take you to the account creation form. Fill the form and submit – you would be taken to the application form.
Join the Nigerian Army
– Obtain a PIN Code from all branches of Oceanic BankONLY after the payment of N2,500 Application Fee to the cashier.
– Login to http://www.nigerianarmyms.org
– Select either Short Service Combatant Commission(SSC) orDirect Short Service Commission(DSSC)Application link on Top of this page.
– Click on the Register and Make Payment link
– Select BranchCollect.
– Enter your username, password, 8-digit PIN Number and Submit. Login and begin to fill the forms and upload your passports and documents.
As if that is not enough, when government of different countries are creating government-funded employment agency facility in the name of job centres, state governments in Nigeria have joined in an attempt to milk the masses.
This morning, Imo State ran an advert on AIT about 10,000 jobs creation for Imo State indigenes under the age of 30 asking the applicants to purchase scratch cards at the cost of N2, 000 from designated banks to enable them access online application. http://www.imo.ngrecruit.com/
Imo government said it “is executing a socio-economic agenda towards revitalising the economy and restoring infrastructure in the state”. To drive these initiatives, the government seeks to recruit 10, 000 youths. Imagine collecting N2,000 from say 10,000 jobless people, that amounts to N20m.
These youths are unemployed and yet the only way to create employment opportunities is to monetise the application process with no guarantee that the applicant will get a job. This is a state that is reported to owe outstanding pay and bonus arrear for up to 24months. It would be recalled that the civil servants in Imo State just resumed from a one-week warning strike which is meant to draw the government’s attention to the non-payment of their revised allowances, monetised entitlements and full monetary value of their respective promotions.
What is it exactly that the government in this country intends to do for the citizens? We are literally left at the mercy of survival, we must pay our way through every services in this country.
Does anyone care about the subtle method of defrauding people all in the name of scratch cards?
Section 17 of the constitution states:
(1) The State social order is founded on ideals of Freedom, Equality and
(2) In furtherance of the social order-
(a) every citizen shall have equality of rights, obligations and
opportunities before the law;
(b) the sanctity of the human person shall be recognised and human
dignity shall be maintained and enhanced;
(c) governmental actions shall be humane;
(d) exploitation of human or natural resources in any form whatsoever
for reasons, other than the good of the community, shall be prevented;
(e) the independence, impartiality and integrity of courts of law, and
(3) The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that-
(a) all citizens, without discrimination on any group whatsoever, have
the opportunity for securing adequate means of livelihood as well as
adequate opportunity to secure suitable employment;
(b) conditions of work are just and humane, and that there are
adequate facilities for leisure and for social, religious and cultural
(c) the health, safety and welfare of all persons in employment are
safeguarded and not endangered or abused;
(d) there are adequate medical and health facilities for all persons:
(e) there is equal pay for equal work without discrimination on
account of sex, or on any other ground whatsoever;
(f) children, young persons and the age are protected against any
exploitation whatsoever, and against moral and material neglect;
(g) provision is made for public assistance in deserving cases or
other conditions of need; and
(h) the evolution and promotion of family life is encouraged.
The scratch card scheme by Imo state and some private organisations in Nigeria is nothing but an exploitation of the masses and are not humane at all. I hope someone will go to court and challenge this nonsense or have access to debate the Imo State government on this.
Only the dead have seen the end of the war ~ Plato
Originally written April 2010