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Uneasy calm in Nigeria Immigration Service


No fewer than 30 senior immigration officers in the ranks of Assistant Comptroller-General (ACG) and Deputy Comptroller-General (DCG) of immigration service might be unceremoniously laid off if presidency goes ahead to appoint a junior assistant comptroller-general, as the new comptroller-general of the service.

An Immigration officer according to the Sun said  that at a time the nation was facing serious security challenges and needed the expertise of such well trained officers, it was feared that any such decision to compulsorily retire them would further worsen the crisis of confidence that rocked the immigration service prior to the exit of the immediate past comptroller-general, Mrs. Rose  Uzoma.

Immigration sources revealed that as the appointment of a new comptroller-general was being awaited, three names had been shortlisted and sent to the Presidency as possible candidates for the position.  Top on the list is the current acting Comptroller-General, Mr. Rilwanu Bala Musa, who hails from Bauchi State. Second on the list is Mr. Ayo Tunde Oredipe, currently an ACG from Ogun State, while the third is Mr. Mohammed Babandede also an ACG. He is from Jigawa State.

While Musa, who took over from the immediate past CG in acting capacity by virtue of being the most senior deputy comptroller general is said to be largely enjoying the support of many senior colleagues, there was the question of what criteria were used in the shortlisting of Oredipe and Babandede.  It was gathered from top immigration sources that even Babandede had been recommended by the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, as the favoured  choice to be announced as the new boss of immigration service despite of his being a junior assistant comptroller-general.

The fear now in top immigration quarters was that if President Goodluck Jonathan goes  ahead to approve the recommendation, it means all the officers, who are senior to Babandede might be compulsorily retired, as it would be abnormal for them to serve under him. The senior officer said: “This move would spell doom for a service that already has security challenges to contend with, as more terrorists are infiltrating the country by the day from neighbouring countries.”

According to top immigration sources, there were many ACGs and DCGs, who were better qualified administratively and intellectually and could assume the position of  CG than junior ones, so Musa’s appointment should be confirmed automatically but if there was any reason why Musa could not be confirmed as the substantive comptroller-general, seniority should be the criteria. There is the argument that if Rilwanu Musa, who is the most senior and currently acting as CG is not confirmed as substantive boss of immigration, the presidency should resort to excellence, efficiency, discipline and seniority as the best criteria.

The bad feeling already being generated within the ranks of seniors to officers is expected to increase if President Jonathan goes ahead to appoint junior officer as the new comptroller-general and the immigration service is not likely to be the same again as the rate of indiscipline emanating from both those who are contemporaries and those who enlisted same time with the junior, but currently on lower ranks may be difficult to contend with. This, sources argued would not augur well for a service already saddled with the challenges of checkmating the influx of terrorist elements who come into the country to unleash horror. When contacted for comment, the Special Assistant to the Minister on media, Mr. George Udor said the minister has no power to appoint a CG. “It is like the appointment of the Inspector General of Police and that of the Chief of Army Staff. The power to appoint a CG rests with the presidency. He continued that there was no problem in Immigration service as the man there was working. “All the stories are the handiwork of mischievous people.”


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