The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) General Muhammad Babandede, has directed that the redeployment of five female officers who took part in a viral social media dance challenge be put on hold pending the conclusion of internal investigations.
In a statement posted on its official Twitter handle on Friday, May 15, the NIS said staff deployment remains a vital practice of regimented organisations and that it maintains zero tolerance to matters bordering on offences against discipline among members of its workforce irrespective of gender.
On Wednesday, May 13, 2020, reports emerged that five female officers of the NIS who were queried for misconduct after appearing in a viral dance video were reposted from their current places of assignment in Abuja, Lagos and Enugu and redeployed to Borno, Kano and Yobe.
Following their appearance in the viral ‘DontRushChallenge’ video, Priscilla Irabor, Catherine J. Bakura, Blessing Alfred Udida, Binti I. Attabor and Ockiya Eneni were the subject of a disciplinary memo dated April 15, 2020.
When the disciplinary memo leaked online, many social media users, women groups and celebrities criticised the NIS for being ‘high handed’ and accused it of gender discrimination.
Despite the backlash, another memo leaked on May 13, showing that the five officers have been handed punitive postings. The memo confirmed that Priscilla Irabor was transferred from the Lagos State Command to the Nigeria Immigration Training School, Kano (ITSK), while Binti Attabor was moved from the service headquarters in Abuja to the Yobe State Command.
Catherine Bakura was moved from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja to the Nigeria Immigration Training School Ahoada, Rivers State, while Blessing Alfred Udida was redeployed from the FCT Command to the Akwa Ibom State Command and Ockiya Eneni was transferred from the CERPAC (Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card) Production facility to the Borno State Command.
The memo also stated that the relocation will be done at the personal expense of the officers involved, and they have been given just 7 days to report at their new places of assignment.
However, General Babandede has directed that the earlier Posting Order be put on hold pending the conclusion of the investigation.
The statement from NIS read: “The attention of the Comptroller General Muhammad Babandede has been drawn to some trending matters on some social media platforms regarding the deployment of some of our Personnel to some Formations across the country.
“It is important to note that staff
deployment remains a vital practice of regimented organizations such as ours and should be seen as such. As an agency, we maintain zero tolerance to any matter bordering on offences against discipline among members of our workforce irrespective of gender.
“We have high premium for staff development and indeed encourage personal efforts but that must be within the confines of our rules and regulations.
“The matter involving the Personnel in question is still being investigated and therefore,the Comptroller General has directed that the earlier Posting Order be put on hold pending the conclusion of the investigation.”