Since the botched recruitment exercise by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in 2015, which claimed the lives of 15 civilians, under past Comptroller General, Mr David Paragang, things have not taken its rightful shape as many of those recruits are still hoping that their training should be regarded as fiat and should be suitable as registered personnel of the institution.
Like wounded Lions, they still see themselves as bona fide personnel of the institution based on the presidential intervention and directive that there new recruitment exercise should be carried out.
It is at this point that the error becomes noticeable. The fatal recruitment incident, should be blamed on the Ministry of Internal Affairs, however, the President Goodluck Jonathan’s fiat does not mean that the Immigration Service should abandoned its laid down criteria and jeopardise professionalism. When the President intervened and issued the directive to ensure that those who lost their lives in the failed recruitment exercise be adequately compensated by absorbing some members of their families, emotion and politics were injected into the entire exercise. Putting the record straight. Some of the recruits had staged a demonstration rejecting the new criteria of the NIS placed between them and their destiny. On the other hand, the NIS is arguing that the same error of the past should not be accommodated the second time. The president had appointed a presidential committee to assist in the fresh recruitment and instead of the presidential committee to abide by the spirit of its mandate to “ assist”, it went political to commit the same earlier error of the ministry of internal affair committed ab-inito by appointing another consulting firm Messers Petrodata Management Services to carry out the exercise instead of advising the already appointed board of the Civil Defence, Fire Service, Immigration and Prison board ( CDFIPB) on the new way to carry out the recruitment , the appointed firm, went ahead on a fresh recruitment without the CDFIPB board. Two thousand recruits were taken and rushed to the training ground. Problem arose when the CDFIPB board noticed that politics was injected into the recruitment exercise. Sequel to this observation, the board declined to approve the issuance of appointment letters. However while the other institutions; Civil Defence, Fire service and Prisons refused to issue appointment letters, the former boss of the Immigration went contrary to the board decision to issue letters of appointments to the new recruits. Understanding that an error was committed, the new comptroller General under a new government revisited the recruitment exercise by wanting to upgrade its criteria, which were watered down due to political influence. This ignited the present roar that prompted the recruits to proceed on demonstration.
A critical look at the entire scenario shows that after the failed exercise that sparked public outcry and condemnation with the intervention of the presidency, one would have thought that noticeable errors of the failed exercise would have been nibbled but instead, the presidential directive which emphasied that the institution be “ assisted” was not only politicised but the assignment was completely taken over by outsiders. It is in this country that errors of the past are allowed to happen the second time. How does one explain a situation where Civilians Company is positioned to carry out recruitment exercise for security institutions? When the former President constituted the presidential committee, it did not mandate it to solely carry out the recruitment exercise but to “ assist” the board in the fresh recruitment. The dictionary meaning of the word “ assist” has not changed and it means, “ to give support or aid to; help”. Instead of assisting the, the presidential committee arrogated the powers to recruit by sideline long the people it was asked to assist and went solo by appointing a recruitment firm. If the presidential committee had allowed the board carries out the recruitment exercise, the issue of scaling down or watering down the criteria wouldn’t have arisen in the first place. Every institution has its criteria in recruitment, and it is completely absurd for us to start permitting this type of situation in our security institutions.
A time was in the country, when due to political interference, the police management allowed politicians to help water down its recruitment exercise and where thorough checks on applicant were to be carried out, they were recruited based on political sentiments and affiliation. In the end, armed robbers and those with criminal intentions were recruited and giving uniform. Security reports got to the then President Olusegun Obasanjo who publicly castigated the Police of recruiting armed robbers. What the new management of Immigration is insisting, is that all the recruits should subject themselves to a new criteria that is the new standard of recruitment into the institution. The question is why would the recruits disagree with the Immigration directive. When the former President directed that a new recruitment be carried out, he did not say the institutions should discard their criteria because it is a presidential directive. I am yet to see where a visitor will be telling his guest where he or she wants seat in the house he or she is visiting for the first time. The truth that must be considered is that, there is a new government in office and the government has consistently argued that it has financial problem.
Even if the government did not open up to explain its anticipate oh problem, with the recession one would not be pleased if these number of applicants are recruited and later not paid salaries. The government knows its capacity and should not be encouraged to provide job for our teaming unemployed youths. It is expedient for us to encourage our youths to be law abiding instead of encouraging them to always go against the rules and regulations. If the new recruits have no hidden agenda, there is nothing wrong for them to re submit themselves to comply with the new Immigration criteria. Employment standards and criteria change with time and with every administration. It is unacceptable and unheard of, for recruits who should be exhibiting discipline dispositions, to be seen carrying placards and embarking on public demonstrations.
If I were to advice, the government should ensure that these recruits comply with every criteria for their employment. We should not allow sentiment to ruin our security institutions. Security institutions are embodiments of discipline and order. When recruits starts exhibiting such reckless and disorderliness, then the country should start thinking twice as this would go a long way to measure the quality of the personnel in such security institution.