Palpable tension has gripped the ranks and file of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) who have been awaiting President Muhammadu Buhari’s final decision on the Comptroller General of the Service, Mohammed Babandede, whose tenure of office expires in September.
Immigration sources said although the CGIS had reached the mandatory retirement age and number of years in service, he is yet to proceed on compulsory terminal leave, which ought to begin on Monday (tomorrow).
They alleged that there had been some surreptitious moves by senior figures in the Ministry of Interior and Presidency to have his tenure extended by another two years.
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Babandede, the 16th indigenous CGIS, was appointed by President Buhari on May 15, 2016. He replaced Martin Kure Abeshi, who retired on June 21, 2016.
Abeshi, who was due for retirement on May 13, 2016, spent an extra five days before his exit.
Like Babandede, Abeshi had sought for an extension of his tenure, having reached the retirement age, but did not get Buhari’s approval.
Babandede, 57, would be due for retirement on September 15, 2020, having spent 35 years in service in line with the public service regulation.
The rules stated that compulsory retirement age for all grades in the civil service should be 60 years, or 35 years of pensionable service, whichever is earlier.
“No officer in the civil service shall be allowed to remain in the office after attaining the retirement age of 60 years or 35 years of pensionable service whichever is earlier,” the civil service rule states.
A native of Jigawa State, Babandede tested positive for Coronavirus after returning from a trip to the United Kingdom on March 22, 2020.
He has since recovered from the virus after testing negative twice.
The expiration of his tenure was said to be generating tension and suspicion among the ranks and file of the Service most of who want the president to replace him.
Top Immigration officers who spoke with Sunday Independent on condition of anonymity, raised fears that Buhari might extend Babandede’s tenure due to enormous pressure being mounted on him.
Immigration sources feared that the president might retain him just like he did with the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas and the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar.
However, feelers from the NIS headquarters indicate that the reappointment of Babandede might spell doom for the service and would not go down well with some members.
Five Assistant Comptroller Generals of the NIS (ACGI) had been jostling to take over the mantle of leadership at the Sauka, Airport Road, Abuja headquarters.
The most senior officers are Isa Jere (ACG), Wuraola Caroline Adepoju (ACG), IAM Haliru (ACG), Yarima Aminu Bako (ACG) and Muhammad Aminu Muhammad (ACG).
M. L .Hayatuddeen, an Assistant Comptroller of Immigration (Pension), had on February 20, 2019, forwarded the list of 635 NIS officers and men due for retirement between January and December 2020.
The list was sent to all staff, Deputy Comptroller Generals (DCGs), Assistant Comptroller General (ACGs) Service Headquarters, Assistant Comptroller General/Zonal Co-ordinators, Commandant Training Institution, Comptroller State Command, Command Comptrollers and Principal Staff Officer.
Babandede who is number on the list has September 15, 2020, as his date of retirement.
Source : independent.ng