ABUJA, Nigeria – President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, have been warned not to grant additional tenure extension for heads of Nigeria’s paramilitary agencies.
They are Controller-General, Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS), Jaafaru Ahmed; Comptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede; Commandant-General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Abdullahi Gana.
Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, elongated their terms by six months in 2019.
Now, the minister’s alleged plan to get Buhari’s approval for their continued stay in office has caused disquiet and tension.
Ahmed, Babandede and Gana have exceeded mandatory retirement age and years of service.
Concerned retired, serving officers, and a cross-section of Nigerians, say retaining officials that should be out of service would psychologically affect personnel development and career progression.
The stakeholders wondered if there are no capable hands to take over, continue with policies, as well as inject new ideas.
They also condemned the “detrimental policy of tenure elongation” for security heads.
Last year, a retired Immigration Officer and human rights lawyer, Daniel Makolo, insisted that Aregbesola acted beyond his constitutional authority.
In a letter, Makolo told the minister that the Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire and Immigration Services Board (CDCFIB) he chairs had no legal power “to recommend or extend the statutory tenure of any public servant in the same capacity, no matter and however industrious such officer may be.”
The barrister said the Public Service Commission is the body empowered with specific provisions for entry and exit.
He stressed that once a tenure comes to an end, a further stay is arbitrary, immoral, wrongful and unlawful.
“The practice of arbitrary, illegal elongation of the statutory tenure of public office occupants sets a dangerous precedent for bureaucracy and national security”, Makolo noted.
The situation is the same with Nigerian military’s Service Chiefs.
Defence Chief, Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin; Army Chief, Tukur Yusuf Buratai; Air Chief, Sadique Baba Abubakar; and Naval Chief, Ibok Ekwe Ibas, have all attained retirement age and years of service.
In spite of terrorists and bandits’ atrocious activities, the President has refused to replace them.
This has also caused several senior officers to exit the military without reaching higher positions.
Recently, an Ekiti federal lawmaker, Wumi Ogunlola, joined calls for their removal.
“If you look at the way banditry, kidnapping and insurgency are thriving, we can only hope that the government will do the needful”, she said.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain recalled that the House of Representatives advised Buhari to take a critical look at the handlers of security apparatuses and make right changes.
“I am also of the humble opinion that the security chiefs have outlived their usefulness. They are supposed to be in retirement at home now”, Ogunlola stressed.