Confusion has gripped the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, as the acting Comptroller General, CG, Martin Abeshi continues to defy a ministerial directive that he should hand over to a Deputy Comptroller General, Babandede, following the expiration of his tenure.
The Minister for Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, on Tuesday wrote a letter to Abeshi directing him to hand over to Deputy Comptroller General, GCG, Mohammed Babandede, to act as the new NIS boss, since his service had lapsed.
The acting CG was expected to have handed over to Babandede immediately but he has since refused to do so, insisting that there are two other DCGs in the Service who are senior to his proposed successor.
Abeshi’s refusal to hand over to a new man as directed by the minister has led to some tension at the Abuja headquarters of the NIS, and led to administrative glitches as many officers do not know to whom they should report .
In the minister’s letter dated May 18, which he personally signed which was exclusively obtained by the icirnigeria.org and reproduced below, Danbazau reminded Abeshi that his service which was initially extended in March had expired on Sunday, May 15 and asked him to hand over to a specifically named officer.
Usually, a retiring officer in the military and para military services hands over to the next most senior person.
Sources in the service told our reporter that Abeshi questioned why he should be told to hand over to Babandede, arguing that there were two other officers of the same rank who were senior to him in service.
As at Thursday morning, Abeshi had still not handed over to Babandede although many officers have started according the new acting CG the honour and priviledge of his new position.
Abeshi’s action, it was gathered, has stalled any official announcement by the government of the appointment of Babandede as the new acting CG, although there have been speculation in the media about the “sacking” of the acting CG.
It was gathered on Thursday morning that the minister has given another directive to Abeshi to hand over to Babandede unfailingly before the close of work today.
Abeshi was appointed acting CG on August 24, 2015 after the suspension of the substantive head of the Service, David Paradang. But, it was gathered that his appointment came only a few months before he was to proceed on terminal retirement leave, which explains why his acting appointment had to be extended.
When contacted to clarify the true position of things, the NIS public relations officer, Ekpedeme King, said that the matter was beyond his office to make comments about and referred our reporter to the Ministry of Interior for any explanations.