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INVESTIGATION: How networking firms use fake job vacancies to exploit, lure job seekers




In this report, Abdulrasheed Hammad uncovers how networking marketers and others ride on the high unemployment rate in Nigeria to lure and exploit job seekers.

The streets of Ilorin and Ibadan in Kwara and Oyo states are lined with job vacancies, which findings show that many are fake.

To get first-hand information about their motives, the reporter took photos of such vacancies and called them seeking for work.

They generally responded by telling him to send his name, address, and the position he is applying for.  After which, a few minutes later, he would receive a congratulatory message telling him he has been shortlisted for a job interview.

When he got to one of the interview venues, he realised it was a seminar meant to get people to join a networking business, Neolife International, where they are to sell the GNLD products.  He had applied to be a Point of Sale (POS) stall attendant.

One of the adverts that turned out to be fake.

He met another lady Anna Modupeoluwa, who was also lured into attending the seminar by a fake photoshoot job interview.

“For the past one hour, I have been sitting here, and I didn’t understand what they were talking about. I am even scared I was like, maybe they are kidnappers or so. I don’t know. the thing is somehow ambiguous, ” she lamented.

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Abeeb, on the other hand, said he saw a vacancy pasted on a  wall; when he got to the interview location, he was asked to pay N18,500.

This was for registration to get the health and lifestyle products which they are to sell.

Different people direct the reporter to the same location 

The first job vacancy reached out to was answered by a man referred to as Jamiu Neolife, who had put out an ad looking for a POS stall attendant. After receiving the details he requested, a few minutes later, he sent an interview address: “Offa Garage, Olaolu hospital, Chayoobi event centre, Agbadam road.”

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Other job vacancies contact reached out to were answered by Akeem Pablo, GNLD Ruqoyat, and Mr Femi GNLD. These were the names showed when their numbers were searched on the Trucaller app.

They all said they have jobs to give and interestingly sent the same address that Jamiu sent as the venue for the interview.

Some of the messages received showing similar addresses.

Another vacancy with Usher Ahmed – as shown on the Trucaller app – as the contact person said they are recruiting for Secretary, Shopkeeper, and Financial Secretary to fill up their new branches.

Ahmad sent Amilegbe, beside ECWA Church, Ilorin, as the location for the interview.

When the reporter got to the location, he was asked to join a seminar; he declined saying he was there for a job interview. That was when he was assigned to one of the organisers called Shamsudeen to ‘educate’ him.

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Education here entails Shamsudeen telling him about networking, why the reporter should join, and how networking is the only way to be successful and not a salary-paid job.

When asked why use a fake job vacancy to lure people, Shamsudeen said, “If you would like to introduce people to the successful path, you are going to give whatever it takes to refer them, even if it is an illegal way. We are going to give you what will make you successful”.

After each encounter, the reporter calls back the referring contact on the ad vacancy to ask why the deceit. One of them complained of poor network and hung up to dodge the question; another complained of being busy and hung up to evade the question. While one even denied knowledge of the networking business.

Members, Victims recount experience

Alfa Lanre, a middle-aged man, was earning his living from tailoring before his encounter with a lady who he said introduced him to networking with Golden NeoLife Diamite (GNLD).

He was hesitant at first as he had many apprentices and a steady customer base. The lady, however, was able to convince him with promises of riches.

“If I had known I would lose my customers, apprentices, and money, I would not have joined this firm,” he said, regretting his decision.

He invested his savings, and because networking is time-consuming, his tailoring work suffered. Two years down the line, he was yet to recover his investment.

He said “If you have a business you are doing, you should focus on it. Before you capture the future you need, you can spend more than 20 years in the organisation (network firm). The story they are telling you that you would travel abroad and be successful in life is all lies.”

He said that the fake job vacancies pasted on the street are one of the strategies they use in luring people, noting that they often paste it early in the morning or at midnight.

“Don’t even think of joining them. They will ruin you. I lost my money, customers, apprentice and ruined my career as a tailor,” he bemoaned.

Another advert

Muhammad Busairi one of  Lanre’s former apprentices who joined him in the networking business, confirmed pasting fake job vacancies for Lanre.

He also recollects the hardship they went through when they travelled to Ibadan and were out of fund.

”We slept at one upstairs in Ibadan. If you fall, the next thing is to die. We used newspapers as a mat. We can trek for six hours or more. We will be canvassing people to attend our seminar. I trekked to the extent that I removed my shoes. Even though I have not registered then,” he said.

He said he joined partly because he was told he would travel abroad, but he did not see anyone who travelled abroad through the organisation after he joined.

Philip Anjorin had an encounter with fake job recruiters in 2017 when he gained admission into Adekunle Ajasin University (AAUA). His plan was to work and get money before resumption.  He was instead asked to join “GNLD and KEDI”.

The use of fear is a common trend among these fake recruiters.

”They said if I go out, I am not going to be successful. If I lose this opportunity, there is no opportunity for success for me. I just have made up my mind that I wouldn’t join them,” he disclosed.

Raji Olatunji and his friend at the time were students at the University of Ibadan when they encountered fake recruiters. They responded to an advert for supermarket attendants, which promised to pay N40,000.

Interestingly, they realised the contact on the ad was a fellow student, which made them excited and hopeful.  However, when they reached Sango, the location, they discovered the girl was looking for people to refer to the organisation. She herself has not been able to pay the registration fee. She was hoping to join by getting referrals.

At the seminar,

the organisers used the same lines obtainable in Ilorin by talking down on salaried employment and education in general. Olatunji said they were shown a receipt of N90,000 paid to someone they claimed had only a primary school certificate.

“They told me to sell my iPhone to buy the form. When we complained about the long trekking under the sun, we were taught how to beg people to carry us and it’s called ‘Abnormal’, even though they have promised us a fortunate life,”  Olatunji explained.

Unemployment in Nigeria is at 33.3 per as of the last quarter of 2020, according to a report published by the National Bureau of Statistics. That’s up from 27.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2020.

Other ways people prey on job seekers with fictitious adverts

When Abiodun Badmus got a call from a man who claimed to have a job for him in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, he was gladdened and looked forward to adding to his growing list of clientele. Unknown to him, it was a scam. The man who simply introduced himself as Ben lured him to the kidnappers’ den, and ransom was paid before he was released.

One of the adverts that turned out to be fake.

Salam AbdulKareem, an Abuja-based accountant, asserted that he once attended an ‘interview’ where they were made to pay N20,000 after what he described as a “long, winding interview process.” He never got any job thereafter.

Adebayo Alabi narrated how they used the name of a legitimate company to kidnap his boss’ in-law. The ad carried   “HALLUBURTON”, whereas the legitimate organisation is “HALLIBURTON”.

Alabi said the interview was conducted in Ikeja, Lagos.

“After the interview, they tricked them that they would drop all of them at their respective destinations because of transport fare. Some were taken to Port Harcourt, some to Benin, and some to Saki in Oyo State. The sister-in-law to this operations manager was among those taken to Saki. That was how they all ended in the hands of kidnappers,” he disclosed

What the law says…

Criminal Code Section 419 states: “Any person who by any false pretence, and with intent to defraud, obtains from any other person anything capable of being stolen, or induces any other person to deliver to any person anything capable of being stolen, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for three years.”

Section 273 of the Penal Code Act provides thus: “Whoever kidnaps or abducts a person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.”

The Police Public Relations Officer, Kwara State Command, Ajayi Okasanmi said the kind of information given by this reporter is coming to the command for the first time and vowed that the command would investigate when a victim or victims report the cases.

He added, “The owners of the houses used to post the invitation should draw the attention of the police to such a situation so that action should be taken, ” he said.

He noted that the command would do something about it as soon as practicable.

This report is supported by OSIWA, under the Campus Civic Media Campaign Project of Cable Foundation, in partnership with TheCable.

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  1. I was once a victim of these neolife people who asked me to come to somewhere in Mararaba, Nassarawa state for a job interview and ended up trying to ‘educate’ me on how I can never get rich except I have a business that pays even while I sleep, so in essence, I should invest in their business.
    I went through a lot of stress that day trying to locate the venue and at the end I was very disappointed 😥


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