Succession Battle: Confusion Over Alleged Retirement of Abeshi, Appointment of Babandede As CGI

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Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

Like a rotten wound that has refused to heal, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) is once again enmeshed in a succession battle over the alleged retirement of the substantive Comptroller-General of Immigration (CGI), Martins Abeshi, and subsequent appointment of Deputy Controller General (DCG) Muhammad Babandede as the Acting CGI in violation of order of seniority in the Service.

THISDAY gathered that there is some unrest and disquiet in the NIS over the imminent appointment of Babandede as CGI by the Minister of Interior, Lt-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), despite the purported contrary directives from the Presidency and in violation of the rules of appointing an Acting CGI in NIS.

Some reliable sources alleged that Dambazau had summoned Abeshi to his Area 1, Garki office and asked him to hand over the Service to Babandede who also happened to hail from the same Kano state as the Minister.

It was then that the incumbent CGI requested for a written authority from the Minister but was told by him that one will be delivered later.

According to one of the sources, Abeshi reportedly told the Minister that “it wasn’t in the practice for the appointment of a Comptroller General (either in acting or substantive capacity) which, by the way is the prerogative of the President and Commander – in – Chief to be appointed verbally”.

He was said to have further informed Dambazzau that “Babandede is not the most senior Deputy and that the practice the world over is that the most senior officer takes over pending his/her confirmation or otherwise, and excused himself, leaving the Minister and Babandede”.

THISDAY obtained a letter on Wednesday with reference number HMI/002/Vol 1/484 and date March 17, 2016, signed by Dambazau, ordering Abeshi to proceed on retirement and hand over to his alleged preferred candidate.