Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mohammed Babandede, has told those questioning his appointment that it was based on merit.
President Muhammadu Buhari on May 24, 2016 approved the appointment of Babandede, then, a Deputy Comptroller General at the NIS Headquarters, Abuja as Immigration boss following the retirement of Martins Abeshi, who retired from the service at the end of his tenure.
Reacting to critics of his appointment yesterday, the Comptroller General said contrary to insinuations and widespread propaganda at the time, he was indeed subjected to rigorous security checks and intense interviews before the Civil Defense, Fire, Immigration and Prisons Services Board (CDFIPB) recommended him for the position.
Babandede, who opened up on his appointment for the first time during an interactive session with reporters in Abuja, noted that intense lobbying that accompanies postings in the service, has remained a clog in the wheel of staff development and must be tackled head-on.
He revealed that a committee is working on a two-yearly posting circular for different officers cadre as a way of addressing activities of lobbyists who will spare no expense to remain at a place for pecuniary gains.
Babandede explained that existence of such circular will curb the pressure often mounted by lobbyist through highly placed persons in society, including governors, senators and ministers.
“When I came on board I found officers who have spent eight years on foreign posting yet they are begging ministers, Senators and Honorable members of the House for them to stay.
“And if you check the ratio of those in foreign service, it shows that only five percent or less of the whole immigration officers will have opportunity to go on foreign posting before they retire”, he said.
The Comptroller General warned that henceforth, any officers that asks for preferential posting or requests to stay in their postings, will not only be rebuffed, but such request will be placed in the secret file of such officer.
On the level of compliance with the directive to former government officials to return diplomatic passports in their possession, Mr. Babandede maintained the strategy to collect these passports from their holders at the border will be sustained.