Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, says the Federal Government unwittingly supplies arms and other resources to bandits operating in parts of the country as a result of what the NIS boss describes as lack of commitment to duty on the part of sections of the security personnel.
Warning that, “Nigeria is under threat,” Babandede said that security personnel from across the services and sister agencies must renew their commitment to work for Nigeria to overcome the prevailing security challenges.
The NIS boss spoke on Wednesday in Katsina, at a joint meeting he had with his officers and men and representatives of other security agencies and community leaders, at Kangolam, a border town between Nigeria and the Republic of Niger.
The meeting marked the end of his three-day working visit to the state during which he launched series of campaigns aimed at transforming the service for enhanced performance.
According to him, “I urge all officers and men to forget about the past especially collecting bribe because the problem is lack of commitment to duty by us.
“Nigeria cannot progress like this because we are in a difficult situation and Nigeria is under threat and the threat comes from a few people.
“You (security personnel) complain that we should give you more equipment, that we should give you more guns and more patrol vehicles.
“But when we give you the guns, you allow bandits to take the guns from you. So, what is the essence of the guns.
“When we buy vehicles for you, you allow bandits to take the vehicles from you.
“We need to see more commitment from you because what is the essence then?
“It means that the Nigerian government is buying guns and vehicles for bandits and other criminals.
“I call on you and other sister security agencies to work with the traditional institutions and get information from them and when you get such information, do not disclose your sources because if you disclose the sources of your information they will not give you information tomorrow.”
Babandele had earlier paid a courtesy visit on the Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Farouk Umar, where he solicited the support of the traditional institution towards implementing certain NIS reforms including the enforcement of the ECOWAS Protocol on migration within countries in the region.
He sad that non-implementation of the Protocol was one of the greatest challenges of the NIS even as he canvassed a return to the defunct British system of indirect rule in Northern Nigeria during the colonial era.
“We need to use the traditional institutions. The British studied the culture and religion of the people very well and they realised that they did not need to rule directly, so they used the traditional institutions. But we neglected these traditional rulers.
“The traditional leaders know everybody down to the grassroot. The local chief knows everybody in the neighborhood and he knows when a visitor arrives.
“We hope to re-engage the traditional institutions and discuss how they can help us in our duties.
“We cannot do without their support when it comes to the issue of control of immigrants into Nigeria,” he said.