The Nigerian Immigration Service is in the process of hiring 1,112 officers in its ongoing recruitment drive, the Comptroller General of the service, Muhammad Babandede has said.
The recruitment exercise is the first since 2014 when a similar exercise was mired by controversy following a stampede that killed many applicants, including seven in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
A huge scandal later broke around fees collected from applicants to the tune of N520 billion.
The then minister of interior, Abba Moro, who coordinated the exercise was later arrested and charged to court by the Nigeria’s anticorruption agency, the EFCC.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Monday, the comptroller general said the current recruitment drive is meant to fill the shortfall of slots left after the service had absorbed 888 of 2,000 officers engaged in May 2015 that were later disengaged in August of the same year.
The current recruitment exercise, which was announced in May, 2017, is for three cadres of Assistant Superintendent of Immigration (II), Immigration Assistant (III) and Assistant Inspector of Immigration.
Mr. Babandede said the Service has learnt many lessons from the exercise conducted in 2014, saying plans have been put in place to provide for smooth process, by doing the screening and interviews in batches.
“I inherited a big problem when I came on board with a lot of young officers protesting on the streets about the recruitment that was cancelled in 2015,” Mr, Babandede said, in reference to the 2,000 officers that were fired by the Muhammadu Buhari administration in August, 2015.
He said although the 2,000 persons were employed to correct the 2014 impasse, their recruitment did not follow due process as they were issued offer letters without due process being followed.
The Comptroller General said it was based on his recommendation that the sacked 2,000 officers were re-screened to verify their credentials and security reports.
At the end of the exercise, he said, the Immigration Board authenticated and reabsorbed back to the service.
He said the ongoing employment was therefore aimed at providing replacement for the 1,123 laid off by the screening of the initial 2,000 hired in May 2015.