Immigration Generates N80bn, Pays N72bn To Technical Partners

Immigration Generates N80bn, Pays N72bn To Technical Partners
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The Nigeria Immigration Service has been described as a cesspool of corruption which has gotten worse under Muhammed Babandede as the comptroller General, DAUDA ISMAIL writes.

Corruption allegations against public office holders in Nigeria, has become the status-quo, such that Nigerians no longer bother when these allegations are revealed, with many of the younger generation only waiting for ‘their turn’ as they now see corruption as a norm.

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Despite allegations of corruption against him, the Comptroller-General of Immigration, MuhammedBabandede, got his tenure extended, causing uproar in several quarters. As the crisis rising from the extension of tenure of the Comptroller-General of Immigration, with concerned Nigerians faulting the extension rages on, the House of Representatives Committee on Finance has alleged that N72 Billion of over N80 Billion generated from the issuance of international passports and other services by the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, is lost to foreign and other technical partners of the Service.

This was revealed during the interactive session on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks, MTEF, and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP, held by the committee, the Comptroller General of NIS, gave a breakdown of the revenue of the Service to the committee.

According to him, his agency generated N14, 772,051billion in 2018, N16, 777, 643, 537billion in 2019, and N5, 714, 780, 005 billion in 2020 from international passports.

From the revenue generated from passports in 2018, N12, 181,069,761.69 billion went to Iris Smart Technologies; for 2019, N10, 327,818,235.21 billion went to Iris, while in 2020, N3, 508,830,380.61 billion went to the company.

From the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, /AA, he said the NIS generated 126,136,960million in 2018; N110, 316, 892 million in 2019, and N38, 372,820 million in 2020.

From the revenue generated from ECOWAS/AA, he said a technical partners, New Works Solution Limited, got N1,376,352,413.59billion in 2018; N1,573,354,911.58billion, while in 2020, N378,833,730.40 million went to them.

On Address Verification, he said the agency generated N2,075,066,728 in 2018; N2,715,888,307,50 billion in 2019, and N561,839,700 million in 2020.

On the revenue generated from Address Verification, a technical partner, National E-government, got N302,069,664.39 million in 2018; N276,688,519,22 million in 2019, and N82,210,586.84 in 2020.

For the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card, CERPAC, he said the Service generated N20,358,233,000 billion in 2018; N40,786,437,950 billion in 2019, and N16,705,512,250 billion in 2020.

On the money generated through CERPAC, FMI collected N236, 323, 494.00 million in 2018; N2, 056,632,384.50 million in 2019, and N8442, 909,515.50 in 2020.

For e-pass, the NIS generated N1,426,566,000.00 in 2018; N1,731,048,700,00 in 2019, and N763,249,300,00 in 2020.

From the revenue generated by NIS, through e-pass, IPTELCOM gulped NN2,442,484,334.50 billion in 2018; N3,343,331,440,33 billion in 2019, and N1,436,169,951.50 billion in 2020, while Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Sub-Treasurer, and IPTELCOM took over N4 Billion from a remainder of the N68 billion generated for the years of 2018 to 2020 from e-pass and other services.

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The payment to foreign and local technical partners namely: Iris Smart Technologies, NewWorks Solution Limited, National E-government, Greater Washington, Contec (CERPAC-E-Pass), FMI(CERPAC-E-PASS), NIS(After-Payment To IPTELCOM), NSPMC, FIRS, SUB-TREASURER, and IPTELCOM got payment totaling $92million representing over 80 percent of the revenue the NIS generated from 2018 to 2020.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the committee, Hon. James Faleke, resolved to summon all technical partners and agencies involved.

According to Faleke, “We thank the Comptroller General. We will use you directly to invite all your partners to appear before this committee on Thursday. And when they’re coming, they should come with all their tax remittances documents from personal income tax, withholding tax, company income tax and Value Added Tax, all from the day they signed the agreement till this day.”

Meanwhile, a Karu Chief Magistrates’ Court presided over by Emmanuel Iyanna ordered that Daniel Makolo, a lawyer, be remanded in police custody for alleged defamation of character following an ex parte application by the lawyer to the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, boss, Adana Musa, for allegedly writing a petition to the Minister of Interior, RaufAregbesola, faulting the tenure extension granted to the Comptroller-General of Immigration, MuhammedBabandede.

Makolo had visited the Federal Capital Territory Police Command headquarters on behalf of a client on Monday, August 10, when he was arrested. According to Makolo, he had been moved to four different police cells since his arrest on Monday, August 10.

“Based on my letter to the minister questioning the tenure extension granted to Babandede, he wrote a petition to the police saying I injured his reputation and the police said that was cybercrime and defamation. I was at the FCT command headquarters on behalf of a client to resolve a problem; we were coming out of the police headquarters when I was accosted by the police and arrested in the presence of my client. They dragged me back into their office, seized my phones and started making trouble.

“They wanted to force me to write an incriminating statement, but I resisted. At the end of the day, they took me to SARS detention centre and the suspects in the cell physically assaulted me. I cried out and the guards came and told them I am an officer, so they allowed me to be.

“The following morning, I was taken to the CID to make my statement; I got in touch with my lawyer and tried to get him to come and witness the statement. The same lawyer, who appeared with me in the case I went to resolve at the police command, Adana Musa, was the person who got a court order to remand me for 14 days in the first instance pending their investigation,” he told newsmen.

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Makolo, a former NIS officer, who is pursuing a PhD in law, said he was also taken to the Garki Police Station, where he was manhandled by criminals in the cell, adding that he also spent a night at the Asokoro Police Station’s cell.

He added: “The following day, I was taken to the Asokoro Police Division, where I was equally manhandled in the cell. They have been taking me every night from one police cell to another. “Right now, I’m in the Nyanya Police Division. This is my second day in Nyanya; I don’t know whether they will still move me to another

cell tonight. That is what they have been doing to break my spirit,” he said on Monday, August 17, one week after he was arrested.

It will be recalled that MuhammedBabandede, was in May alleged to have illegally diverted N23m given to the Service for officers as palliative during the COVID-19 lockdown. According to a leading online newspaper, the fund, which was received by the agency, was about to be disbursed to all officers when Babandede diverted the funds. He subsequently oversaw the disbursement of the funds to some selected persons, who are his cronies within the Service.

It was said that the money was distributed to 293 officers on the order of Babandede. The money, which was paid by Remita, was labelled as overtime and extra hour’s payment for the 293 officers, selected by the CG, who received the sum of N70, 000 each.

“Being paid for overtime extra hours spent to the above named officer and 292 others for the processing of capital payment vouchers for 2020 First quarter Capital Allocation Vide attached brief and approval on page 71 – 79, file No: ACCTS/ADM/CAPT/460,” the documents read partly.

Some senior officers disclosed that the diversion of the funds was the latest move by Babandede in his corruption-laden administration. They accused the NIS boss of withholding payment of promotion arrears, posting allowances as well as duty tour allowances.

“The DCG Finance has prepared to pay each officer nationwide N20, 000 but CG Babandede said no, instead he selected his people and paid them N70, 000 each,” a staff of the immigration service was quoted to have said.

“Few officers got alerts of N70,000, that money was to serve as palliative for all officers of Nigeria Immigration Service but they were diverted and paid to only cronies of the immigration boss. Babandede’s tenure as top boss of immigration has been known for outright misappropriation of funds meant for welfare of officers. Promotion arrears, posting allowances, duty tour allowances are rarely paid to deserving officers; it’s a common knowledge within the service. This is unjust and unfair, even in these trying times that one would seek doing this absurd,” another staff of the agency said.

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Throughout his stay at the helm of affairs at the NIS, Nigerians have not ceased to complain about the services the organization renders. While his job is clearly specified, to tackle the influx of illegal aliens into the country, apprehend those that have found their ways into the country illegally and deport them to their countries. Many especially rich foreigners are today residing illegally in Nigeria; it has been observed that since his inception, foreigners are allowed to flow into the country illegally on paying N2000.000 to immigration officers stationed at border posts across the country.

Furthermore, the issue of easy accessibility to international passports, national identity cards for Nigerians at an affordable rate was never a priority to Mr. Babandede, as any visitor to any of the NIS offices nationwide can confirm that there are two fraudulent prices for example for normal international passports; if a Nigerian wants it with speed and to get it within a day or two there is a higher price for him and for those that cannot afford to pay higher prices (that is those that insist on paying the official price), they are being subjected to lots of frustrations, difficulties and sometimes even uncertainties in getting the international passports.

Many times and deliberately too, officers in the lucrative passports office who are mostly being favoured for such postings by the CG and some of his top officers create artificial scarcity of such passports and as a result demand will increase and the fraudulent prices as planned will go up.

These corrupt practices especially in the passports Units of Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna etc has been institutionalized as the standard practice since Mr. Babandede took over. Nigerians have suffered untold hardship, difficulties and are being forced to pay higher than the official price because most of them that want to renew or apply for new passports are having one emergency reason or the other.

The NIS under Babandede has enjoyed complete freedom from the search light of the authorities or the anti-corruption agencies hence from the top to the bottom they feel they are not accountable. Sadly too and despite chilling instances of corruption and corrupt enrichment at the highest level, very few officers are enjoying the largesse of corruption at Babandede’s NIS. Despite warning officers and men of the service to shun corruption and nepotism, it appears the CG himself deserves warning against the very acts he warns his officers against.

Aljazirahnews


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