The immediate past Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, in response to the ongoing saga trailing the suspension and subsequent replacement of the Comptroller-General of Immigration (CGI), David Parradang, has confirmed that he wrote a petition to the Attorney-General of Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice to Investigate the last Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment exercise. In a related development, the NIS seems to be confused on how to carry out directives by President Muhammadu Buhari, on the recovery of all official and diplomatic passports in possession of undeserving Nigerians.
Moro, in a statement made available to THISDAY on Friday expressed shock that he was being made a scapegoat for the outcome of the controversial employment exercise supervised by the Presidential Committee to Assist in Immigration recruitment. He said all he did was to try to ensure that the exercise was conducted by following due process, which was why he petitioned the AGF to investigate the procedure being applied by the Presidential Committee.
“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,” he said.
The Minister also exonerated himself from the recent ordeal of the sacked CGI, saying that he only acted within the confines of law. He said that contrary to the popular belief and reports in the media, he had never interfered nor usurped the powers and responsibilities of the NIS, which were well defined in the immigration Act.
He said: “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 gross insubordination, complete disregard for constituted authority and indiscipline”, Moro stated. He said that “contrary to the vituperations of the hirelings in the Immigration Service”, he 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,” he added. Speaking further, the former minister accused Parradang of condoning corruption and dereliction of duties by travelling during the recruitment exercises including the ill-fated March 15, 2014 Immigration Aptitude Test.
“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”, he alleged.
Moro further alleged that “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. He claimed that a “very senior officer of the Federal Fire Service who collected money of close to N100 million 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”, he stated.
Moro also denied the allegations that he influenced the posting of senior officers of NIS, asking, “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”.
According to him, “promotions have procedures; vacancies are declared by the Services, tests are conducted and recommendations are made to the Board”. He said that 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”, he disclosed.
Moro further claimed that throughout his tenure, he 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,” he said.
Confusion at NIS over Buhari’s Directives on Diplomatic Passports… Meanwhile, the NIS seem to be confused on how to carry out directives by President Muhammadu Buhari, on the recovery of all official and diplomatic passports in possession of underserving Nigerians.
Investigation revealed that NIS has no immediate plan to implement the directive, as record of such passports holders may not be accurate. Also, retrieving official and diplomatic passports hitherto issued to private citizens may generate probe as to who authorised issuance of the passports and why they were issued.
But in contradiction to this claim, another source within the NIS stated that the service has a comprehensive list of those in procession of official and diplomatic passports.
The senior immigration officer also explained that NIS did not at any time issue official and diplomatic passport to an undeserving citizen, but said ex-government officials who were issued the passports ought to return such passports to the government after their official engagement and tenure.
“I am not aware that official and diplomatic passports were at any time issued to underserving citizens, what I believe the President meant was that all official and diplomatic passports in possession of government officials and former political office holders should be returned to government, since it is not their personal property as they did not pay to have it.”
According to the officer, official passports are issued to civil servants undergoing an official trip, while diplomatic passports are issued to top government functionaries and senior political office holders.
Source: This DayThis Day