Deji Elumoye and Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mohammed Babandede, has faulted the Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement signed by the Interior Ministry with private companies for the establishment of passport application support centers in United States, Canada and nine other countries.
Babandede told the Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Interior that the agreements were skewed in favour of the private companies to the detriment of operational efficiency of NIS.
He told the committee that attempts made by the NIS to jettison the agreement was frustrated by the companies by going to court and securing N18billion judgment against NIS. “The sharing formula in the agreement between NIIS and the private companies was skewed in favour of the companies, which to us is economically injurious to the nation.
“Expectedly, NIS as a body has vehemently protested against the whole arrangement but the fact that the agreement was signed on our behalf by the Interior Ministry, the private companies have continued to have upper hand,” he said.
The CG, however, informed members of the joint committee that President Muhammadu Buhari has already taken up the matter with operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to thoroughly investigate the agreement.
Babandede, refused to explain in details what the contractual agreements were all about and the companies involved in the agreement while responding to a question from the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Kashim Shettima, on why the agency gave N18billion to one the companies in 2017 and another N16billion in 2018.
The Immigration boss also said that any of the irregular migrants that failed to do biometric capturing by January 20, 2020, would be arrested and deported.
His words: “President Buhari has given them six months grace of Amnesty which started from 18th of July this year and ends on 19th of January, 2020. During this period, biometric data of concerned migrants are to be taken and documented. Information to that effect has been sent out to all the affected migrants that whoever refuses to comply, will from January 20, 2020, be on the radar of immigration operatives for arrest and deportation.”
He added that while the agency received only N3.4billion out of the N13.175 billion capital votes appropriated for it in 2018 budget, not a single dime, has been released from the N8.214 billion appropriated for capital projects in 2019.
The committee members however resolved to approach the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning on behalf of the agency for a way out of the poor capital budget funding