Retired CG Immigration Babandede is one of the Finest Officers- Interior Minister Aregbesola
It gives me great pleasure to be present at this momentous occasion, the pull-out ceremony of the outgoing Controller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Alhaji Muhammadu Babandede.
He will be drawing the curtain on a glorious career after 36years of meritorious service to the nation through the NIS. I congratulate him for the joy of today and for finishing well.
He was one of the few people that made my job as minister less challenging. He brought at my disposal his wealth of experience and his encyclopaedic mind on anything immigration. I cherish this and thank him immensely from the depth of my heart.
His tenure is perhaps the most remarkable in the annals of NIS as he brought many innovations to the service. The most remarkable one is the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) which enabled the NIS to coordinate movements of persons at the four airport borders and upload information on missing and stolen passports to INTERPOL. Nigeria sits proudly among the countries in the world that have attained this feat. This is one of the demands of the United States in our recent engagements over issues of mutual concern.
Under him, the NIS has consistently presented annual report. Annual reports are stuff of the private sector, a key requirement of corporate governance and accountability. This is rare, if not strange, to the public sector. But again, he was able to pull this feat.
Under his watch, the NIS completed and commissioned its national command and control centre. This is the repository for all data coming from border management outposts, be it satellite, earth connecting stations and unmanned space vehicles. It is also the coordinating centre for MIDAS.
We started the e-border programme with Huawei that will require the installation of surveillance equipment under his watch. When this is complete, the entire stretch of the 4,047km land borders will be under electronic surveillance. This will take out a significant security challenge from the land border and make our country safer.
He also pioneered the visa on arrival policy of government, a move that will boost tourism and attract high net-worth individuals that add value to our country.
In his last days in office, he presented the service’s code of conduct and ethics and superintended over the transition from manual documentation and operations to electronic data management system.
He cooperated maximally with the Ministry of Interior in birthing many of these innovations and has written his name in gold.
The Ministry began a reform at NIS and it is ongoing. This reform is aimed principally at efficient and transparent passport issuance administration, citizenship integrity and elimination of corruption at every interface with the public and efficient border management, in order to effectively secure the country through our borders. Regrettably, that is his unfinished business. He would have loved to be the one to bring it to a logical conclusion. It is my sincere hope that his successor will pick up the gauntlet and successfully complete the reform.
Goodbye is a sad word. But we shall remain in touch. I will continue to tap from your wellspring of wisdom and experience. An officer never retires, in or out of service. A grateful nation will also tap on her officers, whenever the need arises.
I must not fail to thank and commend the service that produced such a fine officer and gentleman. It is an institution I will remain proud of forever. I salute all the officers and men of this agency that supported the outgoing Controller General and made his tenure a success. You shall all be celebrated in due course.
I salute and thank also all the staff of the Ministry of Interior, especially the Board and the Permanent Secretaries he worked with. His success is your success. He is the crowning glory of all your ministerial efforts.
Last but not the least, I must thank and commend his family, particularly his wife, that managed the home front successfully, enabling him to concentrate on his job, for your love, goodwill and sacrifice.
As he begins the challenging transition to civilian life, I commend him into the safe and comforting hand of the most high God, to keep and protect him and create a new path of His use for him in the unending needs of service to the Divine and humanity.
Minister of Interior
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