The secret recruitment of hundreds of personnel by the Nigeria Immigration Service has continued to generate ripples across the country.
The NIS has denied any wrong doing for not advertising the positions as required by law saying it got a waiver from the government to do it that way.
However, critics say the recruitment favoured senior management staff, top government officials and politicians whose wards and relations are among the beneficiaries.
There are no exact figures of those employed but sources said they could be more than 500.
Those engaged are on inspectorate and superintendant cadres and they are already undergoing training in Kano and Ahoada, Rivers State.
Sources said the personnel, who were employed in December, had been enrolled in the NIS payroll and paid January salary.
“I can tell you that about 300 personnel of Immigration were sent to Ahoada for training early this year. They arrived in January and had been undergoing training.
“But they appeared to have been withdrawn when rumours began to spread that they were illegally recruited,” he stated.
The Rivers State Comptroller of Immigration, Ishiaka Haliru, declined comment when our reporter asked him about the matter, recently.
He said he had not received any signal from headquarters to comment on the matter.
Findings at the Immigration Training School, Kano, revealed that about 400 people had reported to the school since the fourth week of February but that training began on March 11.
The duration for the training of the new superintendent and assistant inspectors, it was gathered, was six and three months respectively.
A source in the school also hinted our correspondent that they were expecting more recruits as the supplementary list had not been sent from the NIS headquarters.
He said employment offers into the service was this time around sold for as much as N500,000.
He said that the issue of following proper documentation in the recent recruitment did not even arise, pointing out “proper documentation was not followed.” He added that unlike in previous recruitments, this time around quota system was not followed. “According to the system, each state will have 14 slots but it was not done that way,” he said.
One of the new recruits, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that “some of us have bought the employment offers. I knew some of my colleagues who bought their offers for N250, 000 each. In my own case, it is my brother who brought it for me so I don’t know how he got it.
“I am for the Superintendent cadre and so also my colleagues. Some of our colleagues who came late said they have paid more than N250,000 per offer. But I don’t know how much those for Assistant Inspector cadre paid per offer.”
Nigeria Immigration Service spokesman King Ekpedeme has denied allegations that bribes were paid by some of those recruited.
“I can tell you that the allegation is not true,” he said. “For an officer to collect money in order to give a job slot means the officer had already made an arrangement with the management to carry out the criminal act, which is not possible,” he said.
The NIS spokesman noted that it was possible that some scammers might have swindled desperate job seekers.
In an earlier interview, the Immigration spokesman told our reporter that “I am not aware that we have up to 400 to 500 recruits undergoing training in Kano. I don’t know the number but I am not sure it is up to 400 or 500. I am aware we should be talking about 200 or thereabout.
“The military has overrun the North-East, taking over the area from insurgents. The Military now said that since they have completed that assignment over there, paramilitary agencies should move in and start an administrative presence in that area so that it does not relapse to the insurgents anymore.
“However, the paramilitary agencies do not have the enough manpower because we have not recruited for up to four to five years and more. Some people have retired, some have been promoted above the rank they should work in certain areas and some had died either by natural cause or killed by insurgents while some had gone on AWOL.
“So the government asked us to put the number together and after submitting the number, they gave us the go ahead to replace.
“Because the government felt it was not a fresh recruitment, they gave us some waivers such that the vacancies should not be publicised, waivers such that it would not pass through some certain agencies,” he said.
On the allegation that most of those in training are politicians’ candidates, the spokesman said, “No, I am not aware of that. During the recruitment, some people heard it while others did not hear it. Those that heard it presented themselves.”
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