Saturday, 29 August 2015

IMMIGRATION SUSPENSION SAGA: MY STORY; ABBA MORO

[Benue News]
My attention has been drawn to a series of spurious newspaper publications regarding the recent suspension of the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Mr. David Parradang.

 The many publications insinuated that Abba Moro, as Minister of Interior, relegated the Comptroller-General to the background thereby making him unable to carry out his duties. They further insinuated that I corrupted the Immigration Service. In addition, they went on to say that I interfered in the promotions of staff.

The duties of the Comptroller-General of Immigration are well spelt out in the Nigeria Immigration Act. If I am so powerful as to prevent the Immigration Boss from his clearly defined duties, then Mr. David Parradang should examine himself whether he is competent for the job. It is pure cheap blackmail.

The duties of the Comptroller-General are well defined in the Immigration and Prison Services Act Cap II LFN, 2014 (as amended). That of the Board is also explicitly stated in the Act establishing the Board.

As Minister of Interior, I operated within the confines of MY mandate according to the Law. I did not in any way interfere in the running of the Nigeria Immigration. Mr. Parradang and his co-travellers should note that there are other agencies/services in the Ministry of Interior. I wouldn’t have singled out the Nigeria Immigration Service for interference.

In the course of my duty as the Minister of Interior, I noticed Mr. Parradang demonstrated crash insubordination, complete disregard for constituted authority and indiscipline. Contrary to the vituperations of the hirelings in the Immigration Service, I fought hard to clean the rot and corruption in the Service. Rather than cooperate to reposition the Service, Mr. Parradang frustrated every of my effort. Mr. Parradang frustrated all efforts to investigate Expatriate Quota administration abuse with allegations of illegal grant of Expatriate Quota by Immigration officers; frustrated all efforts by the committee on Certificate forgery by setting up a parallel committee whose report never saw the light of day; Mr. Parradang frustrated all efforts to investigate contracts he awarded and paid for without contract execution.


If I prevented Mr. Parradang from carrying out the job of recruitment as Minister of Interior, did I go with his sense of responsibility of knowing how not to conduct employment without budgetary provision and utter disregard for extant rules? Yes, I wrote to the Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice to seek clarification to guide the Board when I discovered that the Presidential Committee to assist the Board had assumed a life of its own and was conducting the recruitment rather than assist the Board. What value was Parradang adding to the work of the Presidential Committee when on March 15, 2014 he abandoned his duty to provide leadership to the conduct of the recruitment to attend birthday parties in Jos? The same way he chose to gallivant in America and UK during the 2014 Promotion Exercise against official advice. It is interesting to note that official records of officers Mr. Parradang didn’t want promoted were discovered missing. Just the same way records of officers who were supposed to have retired from the Service were manipulated to allow them stay longer and Mr. Parradang would frustrate their investigation.

It is common knowledge that officers paid to be promoted and posted/deployed, which informed the innovative introduction of External Examiners in the administration of Promotion examinations by the Ministry. As Minister, I introduced various reforms to curtail corruption in the Nigeria Immigration Service. At various fora, I never lost the opportunity to point out the rot in the Immigration Service. When four Public Relations Officers (PROs) of four companies based in Lagos complained of being fleeced via Expatriate quota implementation by the Nigeria Immigration Service, I set up a committee on abuse of expatriate quota administration. Mr. Parradang frustrated the committee. When complaints of certificate forgery were raised, I set a committee on Certificate forgery. Again, Mr. Parradang frustrated the committee.

Across the Services in the Ministry of Interior, several serving officers have been found to have corrupted themselves, have been investigated, some dismissed and handed over to the Police for prosecution; some found guilty, some jailed in the Civil Defence, Prison and Fire Services. A very senior officer of the Federal Fire Service who collected money of close to one hundred million naira only (#100,000,000) was investigated, found guilty for extorting money from unsuspecting members of the public for job and was handed over to the Police for prosecution. Yet an officer of the Nigeria Immigration Service under Mr. Parradang’s watch who was found guilty of a similar offence was shielded despite repeated directives for action against him.

It is pertinent to ask here; what has promotion/posting got to do with the present issue of illegal recruitment by Mr. Parradang and his Presidential Committee and Mr. Parradang’s insubordinate refusal to reverse the illegality as directed by a competent authority? What has Abba Moro got to do with that? In his paranoid desire to always disobey the Minister’s instructions, perhaps, Mr. Parradang thought I was still Minister giving instructions.
Promotions have procedures. Vacancies are declared by the Services, tests are conducted and recommendations are made to the Board. The Minister/chairman only got involved when recommendations are brought to the Board. I challenge Mr. Parradang and his cohorts to present any evidence that I ever asked favours for anybody let alone people from Benue State. It is on record that when I assumed office as Minister, Immigration officers stagnated for upward of 16 years without Promotion whereas the likes of Mr. parradang got accelerated/special promotions to become Comptroller-General. Some of his course mates only became Comptrollers in the 2014 Promotion exercise. These were the officers Mr. Parradang claimed were not qualified to become Comptroller whose appraisal documents were hidden away from the Board.

It is interesting to note that in declaring vacancies, Mr. Parradang made sure that for categories of officers he didn’t want promoted, he did not declare vacancies. I challenge Mr. Parradang to publish the staff disposition for the cadre of Assistant Comptroller and Deputy Comptroller and show that there were no vacancies for their promotion in 2014.

It may interest members of the public to note that Mr. Parradang travelled out of Nigeria to the USA and the UK despite all entreaties and advise. Even when he was reminded of the need for him, a chief Executive officer not to travel in a transition period he was not persuaded. It was at this point that I approved only less than a week of travel of the several weeks he requested for with a caveat that he must, at least attend the first day meeting which he did and nominated a representative from the Service to continue.

In the 2013 Promotions, Mr. Parradang requested for special promotions for officers in the Foreign Service. In 2014, we merely granted special promotions to those in Foreign Service but did not mature in 2013. And upon advice from the Presidency, the Board directed the Board Secretariat to liaise with the Service to grant special promotion to deserving officers specially those attached to VIPs who made sacrifices in carrying out their duties across the Services. It was a Board decision. Why the hue and cry from Immigration about Abba Moro?

I am therefore shocked and surprised at the insinuations contained in the media reports. It is also unfortunate that the media has fallen so cheaply to the antics of Mr. Parradang at misleading the public and diverting attention from the issue of illegal recruitment without budgetary appropriation and insubordinate actions.

Did Abba Moro go away with Mr. Parradang’s thinking cap? I am certainly not responsible for Mr. Parradang’s present predicament. I will not certainly allow myself to be a pawn in Mr. Parradang’s cynical strategy to cover up his leadership inertia. Throughout my tenure as Minister, I did not engage in taking decisions because they were popular and people liked them. I did all I did because I knew them to be right for the system. I did my utmost best in service to my fatherland. Mr. Parradang should be responsible enough to accept responsibility for his actions in office.

Comrade Abba Moro

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