By Palma Ileye
Minister of Interior, Hon. (Dr.) Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has charged Comptrollers of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, on the need to proactively enhance the service in line with the Renewed Hope agenda of the president to change the narrative.
Tunji-Ojo in a press release issued by Alao Babatunde, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Minister of Interior made the call yesterday in Abuja during a meeting with top-rank officers of the service including the Comptroller General, the Deputy Comptrollers General, Assistant Comptrollers General, and Comptrollers.
He with the personnel to be cooperative in re-designing and re-engineering the Service.
According to the Minister, there was an urgent need to critically expand the coast to improve the service and stimulate a departure from the old ways.
He said, “We want to write a new script – a script that is based on sweet experience for the people of Nigeria. Let generations yet unborn come and read the tales in the chronicles of time that there was a time when NIS was downwards, and God brought a Moses supported by Aarons like you to take it up to the next level.”
Speaking on the Service beyond passport production, the Minister further charged officers to help the Service take its place of pride by adequately carrying out their mandate as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution.
“As your Minister, it is business unusual. We have bigger responsibilities beyond passport processing, and we must deliver. There is a lot of grounds to cover and I believe we have the best of capacity in our officers.
“Your job is massive, and beyond passport. You’re our ambassadors, and as such, there is more to be done in areas of investigation and compliance because you’re our border police. It is no longer acceptable to just process passports. You must take your pride of place in the comity of agencies,” he said.
On commitment on the part of government, the Minister assured the Service of an upward improvement of welfare packages as well as adequate investment in capacity development to reform the service.
He said, “We are already working with necessary agencies of government to look at how your salaries can be at par with other sister agencies in line with what the law says. People need to be assured of the future. People need to be encouraged knowing full well that even after service, a good life lies ahead.
“You cannot give what you don’t have. In the new dispensation, we will ensure we move from an era of career stagnation to an era of promotions on merit. And, where we need to create more portfolios, we will expand the coast to accommodate more officers.
“We must back our talks with actions. If there is any Comptroller who will not join the progressive train, such officer should voluntarily exit the system before we take actions.”
Speaking during the meeting, the Comptroller General of Immigration, Mrs Adepoju Carol Wura-Ola, appreciated the kind gesture of the Minister, and his innovative approach to solving challenges confronting the service.
“I want to say thank you to the honourable minister. As a service, we assure you of our loyalty and commitment to lead the progressive call you have charged us with. We will not let you down. We will not let the country down. We will not let the president down. Be assured that our men will key into all your innovative reforms, and will not compromise the system,” she said.
The meeting was attended by top Management Officers and Directors of the Ministry including the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Peter Egbodo.