A human rights lawyer has accused the Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola of overreaching his powers by extending the tenure of the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede.
In a letter addressed to the Minister, D.D. Makolo said Aregbesola lacked the constitutional authority to extend Babandede’s tenure as he has spent over 35 years in service and should have retired.
He said further that the Civil Defence, Fire, Immigration and Prisons Services Board (CDFIPB) overseen by the Minister lacked the legal right to recommend or extend the tenure of any public servant irrespective of the productive capacity of such officer.
He said the practice of extending tenures of officers due for retirement is counterproductive, detrimental and demoralizing to the career progression of public servant and sets a bad precedent.
He reminded Aregbesola that as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is duty to uphold the constitution. He said the continuous stay of Muhammad Babandede in office was a violation of the laws of the country.
Excerpts from the letter read;
“The Public Service of Nigeria is statutorily designed with specific provisions for entry and exit lawfully,” the lawyer wrote.
“Honourable Minister sir, Mr. Muhammad Babandede’s tenure as a public servant, employed by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1985 to work as an Immigration Officer, has come to an end and his further stay in that office is arbitrary, immoral, wrongful and unlawful.
“The practice of extending the statutory tenure of office of any public officer is counter-productive, demoralizing and detrimental to the career progression of officers in public service, with dangerous consequences, the overall price, our fragile nation can’t afford to pay at the end of the day. Please ‘Let us use our tongue to count our teeth’.
“The practice of arbitrary, illegal elongation of statutory tenure of public office occupants sets dangerous precedent for bureaucracy and national security.
“Honourable Minister, Sir, order Mr. Muhammed Babandede, a public servant under your ministry’s supervision, to proceed on his pre-retirement leave forthwith and nullify any action taken by him after the 13th day of June 2020.”
“[It will] guide you for the purposes of promoting the good government and welfare of all persons in our country without discrimination on the principles of Freedom, Equality and Justice and for the purpose of consolidating the unity of all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”