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Last updateMer, 28 Jan 2015 10am

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Society: NGO drags govt to UN over job stampede deaths

Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) - With about 20 people dead in stampede at various venues of a job test conducted by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) last Saturday, a Nigerian NGO has petitioned UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon over the deaths.

In the petition, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) requested Ban to use his good offices and leadership to 'publicly condemn and refer the unlawful deaths and inhuman and degrading treatment of job-seekers by the Nigerian government to appropriate United Nations human rights bodies”.

“We believe this is important to achieve international accountability of Nigeria for the violations of the human rights of the job-seekers. By doing this, the Secretary-General will be upholding the values and moral authority of the United Nations and sending a powerful message that the UN will not tolerate fragrant violations of human rights of Nigerians,” SERAP said in a statement it sent to PANA here Monday.

In its petition, the organisation said millions of Nigerian children and university graduates continue to be denied the right to work unfairly, even though work is important for personal development as well as for social and economic inclusion.

“The unlawful deaths and inhuman and degrading treatment of the job-seekers constitute violations of their rights to life, dignity and work. The case also shows the growing level of economic injustice caused by pervasive corruption and lack of opportunities for Nigerian children to enjoy the right to employment and to gain a living by work, as guaranteed by international and regional human rights treaties to which Nigeria is a state party,” SERAP said.

According to local media reports, about 20 people died while over 40 were injured when they were trampled at venues in the capital city of Abuja, the southern cities of Port Harcourt and Benin and the northern city of Minna, where they had gone for a test being conducted by NIS.

PANA reports that the stampede occurred during a crowd crush as the applicants sought to enter the venues.

More than 500,000 candidates were shortlisted for just about 5,000 vacancies declared by NIS, a government agency.

Nigeria's unemployment rate of 23.9 per cent (54% among the youth) is being described by analysts as a time bomb.

Nigeria's umbrella workers' union, NLC, has called on the federal government to declare a 'job emergency' over the high unemployment rate.

Pana 18/03/2014