Disquiet in immigration as alleged manipulation delays CGI selection

Over six months since Idris Jere assumed duty as Ag. Comptroller-General of Immigrations (CGI) in September 2021 following the retirement of Muhammed Babandede, the delay in appointing a substantive head is raising discomfort and suspicion of process manipulation among the rank and file of the agency.

According to insider-sources, 11 qualified senior officers were mandated to submit curriculum vitae immediately after Jere’s appointment, and for the screening exercise afterwards, most of them were said to have passed through the Department of State Services (DSS) for clearance as a prerequisite for high public offices.

However, it was alleged that they have since been ignored by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, while different “delay tactics, rigorous practices and unethical due diligence” have continued instead.

It was further alleged that Aregbesola, Jere and the agency’s management board may have jettisoned due diligence by inviting for interview/examination only five senior officers among the 11 in order to manipulate the selection process, ahead of the official announcement by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to a reliable source, a past-comptroller general plans to impose his PSO on the agency as its new boss, hence he is the only male candidate the retired boss is strongly projecting to the panel.

Similarly, some concerned officials have alleged impunity and gross misconduct on the part of the minister over the management of the CGI selection process, and are urging the presidency to call them to order.

“Our attention has been drawn to this position by officers who are apparently aggrieved by the development, especially as it is being alleged that the process is seemingly not only laden with irregularities, impunity and corruption but had encroached into the 2022 vacancies for recruitments, promotions and retirements,” they stated.

“This call to positive action is to urge the presidency to convene a special, urgent meeting with a view to critically looking into the issue of CGI selection and appointment (now) at stake and take the necessary positive steps to redeem the good image of the NIS and the hard-earned integrity of its esteemed, qualified/dedicated officers in line.”

However, the Assistant Comptroller of Immigration/Public Relations Officer, Amos Okpu, explained that the process was ongoing, adding: “I am aware that four very senior officers have been interviewed. It is ongoing. You know it is not for the service to appoint. I think they are just doing due diligence.”

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