Controversial appointment of Comptroller General: Anxiety as FG moves to retire topmost officers at Nigeria Immigration Service

Barring any last-minute change(s) in plans, the Federal Government will, between today and tomorrow, effect mass retirement of topmost officers in the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS)....READ FULL ARTICLE

The planned mass retirement is a sequel to the rash of illegal appointments, made back-to-back by the President Bola Tinubu administration, of the immediate past Comptroller General of Immigration, Mrs Wuraola Adepoju and the incumbent, Mrs Kemi Nandap.

Adepoju, whose tenure expires on February 29, 2024 will be succeeded by Nandap as Comptroller General with effect from March 1, 2024.

These appointments apparently violate the provisions of the Unified Conditions of Service for Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Fire Service, Nigeria Immigration and Nigerian Prison Services, 2019. The four para-military services are under the Ministry of Interior.

Chapter 3 of the document, at specifically 3.1.2, under appointments, states that: “Appointment of Heads of the Services shall be on recommendation of the Board and approval of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation, from among the servicing officers of not less than Assistant Comptroller/Controller/Commandant General. Such officers shall have not less that eighteen (18) months before retirement.”

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It was learnt that whereas Adepoju was appointed on the eve of her retirement as acting Comptroller General of Immigration on June 1, 2023, Nandap (an Ogun indigene married to a Plateau man) has less than eighteen months to retire from the service. Nandap will retire on October 10, 2024, having enlisted in the service in 1989.

The palpable anxiety within the Immigration Service, as learnt, arose not even because of the illegality of Nandap’s appointment as Comptroller General of the Immigration Service in apparent breach of the extant regulation, but because of the grand plan to retire officers at the top rung of the ladder who are Nandap’s juniors by virtue of her year of enlistment-1989.

Nandap, who was a Deputy Comptroller General of Immigration before her appointment as acting Comptroller General of Immigration effective March 1, was number six on the list of officers and men who were due for retirement in 2024.

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She had ahead of her two Deputy Comptrollers General of Immigration who will be expected to retire because they were her senior. It was learnt that there was a push to get all the Deputy Comptrollers General of Immigration to retire voluntarily before Nandap assumes office on March 1, 2024.

Sources close to the service said there were five Deputy Comptrollers General of Immigration who were her juniors and whose retirement will be on the same date as her retirement, that is October 10, 2024, save one from the Southeast, who as learnt, enlisted in the Immigration Service in 1991, which gives her about three more years in the service.

But it was gathered that they had all been slated for immediate retirement for inexplicable reasons.

There were insinuations of a plot to ease out officers in that position to make it easy for Nandap’s tenure that is due to terminate on October 10, 2024 to be extended by President Tinubu on the recommendation of the Board of Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire and Immigration Services Board (CDCFIB) under the chair of the Minister of Interior, Hon Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo.

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This possibility is already being opposed in the Service with a subtle advocacy being sent across to the Presidency to guard against the inherent injustice in the purported plot to effect a blanket retirement of all the Deputy Comptrollers-General of Immigration at this intersection,

Secretary to the Board of CDCFIB, Jafaru Ahmed, was purported to have directed the affected subordinate officers to tender their letter of voluntary retirement.

But they were said to have refused to do so on Tuesday when they were contacted by the Board Secretary.

Analysts contend that while it is the norm for senior officers to be retired once their subordinates are appointed to head the services in which they serve, the rationale for retiring or planning to retire subordinates of new service chiefs remains largely inexplicable.

Calls were put through to the Board Secretary on Wednesday morning to enable him clarify the situation. He did not respond to the calls....READ FULL ARTICLE

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