Each time the word “pullout “is mentioned in security circles, what immediately comes to mind is the evaluation of the officer to be pulled out. Questions are centred around his personality and performance while in office, if he was an achiever, a good man, a mixer or one with bad record. Impressively, the man that the reformed Immigration Service organized their first pullout parade for is the silent achiever, Mr. Muhammad Babandede, who was the 16th Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS). After a resounding five-year tenure that attracted ovations across the country and foreign embassies, the man with the magic administrative and operational wand officially retired from office.
Even as the applause increased to a frenzy, it was already recorded that his administration received the loudest applause ever in the history of the institution. Indeed, he came, he saw and he conquered. Record shows that, as a History graduate of Bayero University, Kano, and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he bagged a master’s degree in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, Babandede was instrumental to the full establishment of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP ), an organization he helped to grow, as its director of investigation. Like Nigeria’s equivalent, which is the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies in (NIPSS), for global leadership.
Babandede is globally recognized as an expert on issues of human traficking. No one is in doubt that Babandede is a visionary leader who knows where he is going and how to access his destination. According to Rev. Theodore Martin Hesburgh, a distinguished writer and president of the University of Notre Dame for 35 years, “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision.” Truly, Babandede conceived a visionary map for the NIS.
Among his achievements are:
The delivery of 14 published annual reports
The NIS 2016 – 2019 strategy policy
New curriculum for training institutions targeted at personnel reform
Border management strategy and the developed Nigeria Visa Policy 2020, the first comprehensive approach of developing a visa policy that addresses our socio-economic needs as a nation.
The One Global e-Visa, which makes Nigerian visa processing more efficient and transparent.
Also, there is the E-Border project, covering 84 land borders to be monitored real-time, online with a pilot case linking the headquarters and one of the border control posts at Illela in Sokoto State.
The Border Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) has been described by IOM as the largest and most complex migration system in the world. Currently, all the nation’s international airports and 23 land border posts are linked to the MIDAS platform in NIS headquarters. The centre will be a world reference point.
The functionality of the MIDAS platform has received tremendous boost with the establishment of the INTERPOL Desk in the Technology Building.
Daura Forward Operations Base brought the number of such stations to 14, while so many others are near completion.
Visa and passport applicants: That done, the NIS revolutionized the visa application process and introduced the Visa on Arrival facility and pursued the reform.
The noticeable decadence and corrupt practices in the organization saw the dismissal of scores of officers involved in passport racketeering while many others were demoted. Not done, Babandede completely transformed the organization structurally, making every new visitor to further appreciate the leadership quality of the outgoing Comptroller-General. A security officer who witnessed his pullout parade, said , “He has planted his footprint in the sand of time both in the Nigeria Immigration Service and the country.”
Even while leaving the organization when the ovation is loud, the message drawn from his selfless service to the country is that people should be humble while serving the masses and ensure that injustices are addressed. Every corrupt officer should be brought to book, every maladministration should corrected and structures improved upon, and the welfare of every staff well catered for without any exhibition of selfishness. No wonder many were full of praises as he was pulled out of the organization after meritorious service. The history of the NIS will not be complete without the laudable mention in large volume of the outstanding achievements of the man call Babandede. Among his achievements include the discentralization of the issuance of international passports, the digitalization of Nigerian passport, computerization of all activities in the institution, construction of offices and barracks around the country and upgrading of welfare for personnel of the NIS.
An officer with the milk of human kindness, a detribalised leader, with visible results, as was enunciated by the Minister for lnterior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who openly stated that Babandede was a leader to be reckoned with. That Aregbesola credited Babandede with virtually all the hair-raising achievements is a thumbs up for President Muhammadu Buhari who must have carried out enough investigation before his appointment in 2016, unlike those he previously appointed for the Nigeria Police that later became clogs in the wheel of progress in that institution. It was that singular error that has backfired and the country is reaping the fruits of those appointments in the police. Thank goodness the present appointment in the police has realized that there is much work to be done in the Nigeria Police. So far, he has surpassed all his predecessors without mincing words and he stands out high like a colossus. Today, the morale of every person in the Immigration Service is very high, unlike what it used to be in the past. All employees of the institution are proud just because one man was pragmatic, humble and selfless as he carried out the assignment the President bestowed on him and the crowd and other security leaders were unianimous when they pulled him out with praises at the epochal ceremony.
The audacity of Miyetti Allah (1)
On every road around the country, there are noticeable traits of fearlessness, boldness, temerity or audacity.
For example, a student flouts and disobeys school rules, and he or she is confident that no one can enforce disciplinary action because their parent has all that it can take to silence the school authorities.
Similar scenario is applicable to commercial cab drivers and motorcycle riders, popularly known as Okada riders, that daily flout traffic rules and disregard the presence of traffic officers because they are aware of the influence of their owners who might be senior security officers or influential politicians. Also, the society is controlled by individuals who by either association or affiliation turn out to be law-breakers that do not obey simple public rules. This has been the trend in our society. Over the years, men of like mind congregate for purposes that are either for personal interest or for the overall general interest. Such interest could be divine or demonic. No wonder the scripture described the demon as “A roaring Lion” whose main objectives and characteristics are to steal, kill and to destroy ( John 10:10). Such groups like armed robbers, kidnappers, bandits and herdsmen perpetrate criminal activities that are detrimental to the common good of the society. They kill, main and destroy. Even past and present governments had severally announced that some of these criminals are being sponsored by well-placed people in society. Except that despite the disclosure, no name is mentioned.
The truth is that Nigerians are aware that there are evil-minded “principalities and powerful personalities” sponsoring these devilish acts in the society.
(To be continued)