SPEECH OF THE COMPTROLLER-GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION SERVICE AT THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE, 2019, HELD IN BENIN, EDO STATE FROM WEDNESDAY 23RD – 26TH OCTOBER, 2019

Babandede, NIS Boss

PROTOCOL

I have been given a very difficult task by the organizers of the 2019 CGI Conference to give a welcome address when the Executive Governor of the host State is seated right here in the hall. It is very clear that I cannot be in the position to welcome anybody to Edo State, butallow me to welcome all of you to our 2019 Annual Conference taking place in this historic city of Benin.

I wish to first and foremost express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to His Excellency, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the Executive Governor of Edo State, for hosting this great event of the Comptroller-General’s Annual Conference for the year 2019. The Nigeria Immigration Service Officers and Men are grateful for this your kind gesture and will always count on your support in our bid to enhance a safer and prosperous Nigeria.

 

  1. May I also express my gratitude as well as commend the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for his commitment to the success of all the Agencies under the Ministry of Interior and particularly, the Nigeria Immigration Service. The Minister has shown tremendous support and interest in all the activities of the Nigeria Immigration Service. May I therefore, assure readiness, commitment, loyalty and continuous support to ensure the success of the Federal Government’s Next Level Agenda.

 

  1. Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, our Annual Conference has become a strategic event that affords the Service the opportunity to reflect on its activities and also to chart a new path and evaluate strategies, policies and programs. I am glad to inform you that the Annual Conference has continued to support the Service, achieve far reaching successes, enhance our operations and boost the confidence of the general public and International Community in general. It also affords us an opportunity of a healthy reunion as members of the NIS family – you will find retired Comptrollers General, Deputies and Assistant Comptrollers General seating together with the young officers they left behind when they were very young. Please allow me to introduce our respected retired leaders seated here today.

 

  1. Last year 2018, the Annual Conference held in Borno State and was hosted by the then Executive Governor, His Excellency Kashim Shetima. Coincidentally, he is now a distinguished Senator and the Chairman Senate Committee on Interior. I believe his chairmanship of such an all-important committee is as a result of his commitment to internal security of Nigeria.

 

  1. The last year’s Annual Conference with the Theme: “Enhancing Border Security and Controlled Irregular Migration” focused more on Border Management and Security. During that Conference, deliberate policies, programmes and strategies were agreed upon and with great commitment, we have been able to record successes on Border Management and security which include as follows

 

(i) The Service was able to construct and equip twelve (12) Forward Operation Bases (FOB) for Land Border Patrol in some strategic Border Areas in 10 states of the Federation. The FOBs are aimed at enhancing and ensuring effective Border Patrol Operation along the flanks of the Border Areas. The Minister of Interior Commissioned Oja-Odan FOB on 12th October, 2019;

 

(ii) With the support of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and in collaboration with some stakeholders, has developed a five years National Border Management Strategy (NBMS) 2019 – 2023. The document was launched on 30th August, 2019 in Lagos, by the Minister of Interior. Thereafter, on the 19th September, 2019, the National Border Management Strategy document was presented to all the Stakeholders and Agencies with statutory mandates on Border Management. Copies of the NBMS will also be shared during this conference;

 

(iii) Another major project undertaken in furtherance of the implementation of the policies and strategies from the last Annual Conference was the Migrants’ biometric e-registration. The project was borne out of the realization of the lack of adequate documentation in line with global best practice of Migrants resident in Nigeria.Maiduguri 2018 saw the weakness of On-entry Control compared to Pre-entry and After-Entry Controls. Consequently, the President, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, launched the Migrants Biometric e-registration at the Nigeria Immigration Service Headquarters, Abuja; on 17th July, 2019.Mr. President granted Amnesty to Immigration related offences to allow irregular migrants to register within 6 months or face deportation. Presently, the Nigeria Immigration Service has rolled out the Migrants e-registration Centres in 22 states of the  Federation As at today, a total of 27,046 Migrants have already been registered in the e-migrant Registration Database. Out of which 17,875 are Irregular Migrants representing 66% of the total number of Migrants registered, while 9,170 are Regular Migrants representing 34% of the total number of Migrants registered.

 

(iv) The objective of this Migrants e-registration is to afford the Nigeria Government the opportunity to know precisely the total number of Migrants resident in Nigeria and their Migration Status, while also promoting inter-agency synergy through sharing of reliable and verifiable data and information on Migrants resident in Nigeria. The Migrants data will also assist the government in Socio-political and National Demographic growth plans.

 

(v) The NIS has also reviewed the Nigeria Immigration Service Manual of 1963 and published the Manual with the support from IOM and funding from The Netherland, Switzerland and GIZ Germany. The Immigration Manual is an important document of NIS that serves as a standard operation procedure of the NIS operations and activities. The new Immigration Manual will be unveiled during this Conference.

 

  1. In the same vein, it was during the Annual Conference of 2017 at Abeokuta, Ogun State that the strategic action plans for the Passport Reforms was initiated. Consequently, Passport Reforms were introduced in the document itself and the process of procuring it. A significant outcome of this effort is the reversal of the dwindling Revenue generation from Passport issuance.

 

  1. Also, Mr. President, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR has on the 15th January, 2019 launched the new e-passport booklet. The new passports have a polycarbonate bio-data page technology and contain enhanced security features in line with International CivilAviation Authority (ICAO) requirements and guidelines for Electronic Machine Readable Travel Documents. Moreover, a new 64 pages Passport with 10 years validity was equally introduced. The Passport Application and Issuance Processes were also enhanced and simplified in line with the Federal Government Policy on Ease of Doing Business.

 

  1. From the foregoing, you will agree with me that, the Comptroller- General of Immigration Service Annual Conference, remains a veritable tool and medium that enables the NIS to chart the paths capable of repositioning the Service to effectively discharge its statutory mandates as well as develop strategic and actionable plans for the implementation of Federal Government Policies and Programmes for enhanced National Security and promotion ofNational Economic growth in line with the 4-year Service Strategic Document developed in 2016 after I assumed office.

 

  1. Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Comptroller-General of Immigration’s Annual Conference 2019 holding here in Benin, Edo State, has the theme: “Migration Management, in a Developing Economy; the Role of Nigeria Immigration Service”. This theme was carefully chosen in view of the fact that the previous Conferences dwelt more on security. Therefore, the 2019 Conference will, in addition to developing plans for the consolidation of the previous successes recorded on security and internal monitoringmechanism of the NIS, the focus of this year’s Conference will be on how the NIS will effectively contribute to sustainable growth and development of the Nigeria’s Economy in the face of the current economic challenges. As you may be aware, our Mission Statement is to ‘strengthen the security and prosperity of Nigeria through humane, proactive, effective and efficient border security and migration management’

 

  1. During this Conference, the NIS intends to develop and initiate strategies, policies and programmes that will be translated into actionable plans that will positively contribute to the sustainable growth of the National Economy. Distinguished participants, NIS are not only a key security agency of government but a service provider and a revenue generating agency. In 2018 we remitted the sum of N6, 945,585,360:86 and $36,909,411.00 to FGN as its share of the revenue we generated through the PPP projects. This year, from 1st January, 2019 to 31st August we have already lodged the sum N11, 682,009,761:69 and $22,972:38 into the coffers of the FGN. Every Immigration officer, serving and retired strongly believes that a review of some of the PPPs will double or even triple revenue at a time we are running a deficit budget. I must not be quoted out of context, I am a strong believer of PPP because it leverages resources and enhance efficiency but not some of the PPPs we operate thatexploit our resources and add little value to our work. I am aware and confident that our Minister of Interior will make a difference by renegotiating some of these PPPs to allow NIS effectively drive the process and increase the share of revenue accruable to government.

 

  1. Your Excellency, Minister of Interior, dear participants, this year’s Annual Conference will also take into cognizance the positionof the Minister of Interior that all Agencies under the Ministry, should ensure they align their policies, programmes and strategies to conform with the Presidential directive and give priority to Security, Economy and Transparency (code named SET). Therefore, I want to assure the Minister that all the policies, programmes and strategies that will emanate from this Conference, will be guided by the desire to ensure that they are aimed at enhancing National Security and contribute to sustainable National Economic Growth while also promoting the principle of building an enduring legacy of transparency in service delivery.

 

  1. Let me use this opportunity to warn all officers and men to adhere strictly to the paramilitary ethic of discipline – it is only a disciplined Service that can shun corruption, deliver selfless service, increase revenue, protect the security of our nation and contribute to its prosperity. We must all remember our Vision, where we want to be –‘a modern, people-oriented, effective and efficient Immigration Service, manned by well trained and motivated work-force’

 

  1. My dear senior officers, you must assume leadership in your space of influence as my deputies, assistants or Comptrollers of commands. You know very well that each one of you is the CG in your various locations – you must prove that you are capable of taking themantle of leadership from me very soon. I have tried my best by training each and every one of you to succeed me by giving you specialized training on leadership, social and emotional intelligence. We have developed training curriculum for our training institutions and even introduced IT-based Personal Training Centres with support of donors. In the last few years we have built new Commands, barracks and above all we hope to commission our N7.4 billion Technology Building next year. You will bear with me that NIS is already in the next level – please do not relent in this development if you take over from me next yearwhen I will clock 35 years in Service. I urge you not to start a succession war by attempting to damage one another – such actions will only damage our Service and the country at large. I stronglybelieve God has already chosen the 17th CGI and no one will change it.

 

  1. Your Excellency, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, in conclusion and on behalf of the Management of the Nigeria Immigration Service, I wish to once again express our sincere appreciation of the hospitality and magnanimity of the Government and good people of Edo State for successfully and satisfactorily hosting the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service Annual Conference, 2019. May I also express my gratitude to all the NIS technical partners and other stakeholders for their support towards making this event a success.Finally, I express my immense gratitude to the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for his tremendous support to the Nigeria Immigration Service, as well as his purposeful leadership and encouragement which I personally enjoy from him and for his interest in the activities of the NIS.

 

  1. We carefully selected our Resource Persons to include professionals, retired officers and even an executive governor. Some of these great persons have already tested their presentation in the social media. With our strong social media connection and the calibre of our resource persons, this Conference is already a global discourse.

 

Once again I most sincerely thank each one of you for making out time to come to this Conference.

Thanks for listening.

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