…Officers Pay N2m For Promotion
…Officers Urge Buhari To Probe Promotions
A strange combination of dejection and a spirit of rebellion now pervade the air around the paramilitary agencies of the Federal Government under the Ministry of Internal Affairs and directly superintended by the Civil Defence, Fire, Immigration and Prisons Services Board despite the recent mass promotion.
Scores of petitions have therefore been forwarded to the board by aggrieved staff of every of those agencies alleging that bribery, nepotism and other forms of irregularities characterised the promotions and demanding that exam scripts be provided to actually verify performances in the examinations leading to the promotions.
The allegations included that as much as N1.5 million bribes were received by some senior officials of the Board including the Director/Secretary, Board’s Appointment and Secretariat, Mr. A. A. Ibrahim and his Personal Assistant; that many officers who were not qualified to sit for the promotion examinations were invited and promoted to the detriment of qualified officers; that nepotism particularly played a prominent role as officers hailing from the same state with immediate past Minister of Internal Affairs, Abba Moro got undue attention; and that non-existing vacancies were filled.
Many aggrieve officers who bombarded our newsroom seeking redress are insisting that the last days of Aba Moro be probed by the new administration of President Muhammadu Buhari especially concerning promotions in the parastatals under the Ministry of Interior.
For instance, whereas promotion examinations were conducted since mid 2014 for officers on levels seven to 14 for Prisons, Immigration and Fire services, results were not released to the last days of the administration when six board meetings were held within two weeks “to perpetrate the evil” according to an officer within the ministry.
Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS)
According to reports, Comptroller general of Immigration David Parradang who is generally considered to be a thorough and firm chief executive officer travelled abroad to attend his child’s graduation ceremony and Moro perfectly timed the period to convened the successive meetings. Parradang was therefore absent from the important board meetings where such crucial decisions were held.
In the category of officers aspiring for promotion to the rank of Comptroller of Immigration (CSIs) from Deputy Comptrollers of Immigration (DCIs), 22 vacancies were declared for which 102 staff were examined.
The Board Appointment and Promotion Committee (BPACs) recommended to the board that 88 of the personnel scored above the minimum pass mark of 60% and that there were 14 vacancies and that “in the light of the foregoing, the Board is invited to approve, the promotion of Fourteen (14) Deputy Comptrollers of Immigration (DCIs) on COMPASS 14 to the rank of Comptrollers of Immigration (CIs) on COMPASS 15 in order of merit w.e.f.1/1/2014”
Eventually, the BPAC increased the number of available vacancies to 22 and consequently recommended those that the first 22 names on the list which was based on their scores with the highest score being 87 and the last person scoring 80.
But according to documents available to Economic Confidential, when the list of promotion was released, most of those who scored the highest were not promoted as officers who scored very low marks were promoted.
As a rule, officers from grade level 07 to 14 must spend a minimum of three years on a rank before they could be due for another promotion while those on level 15 and above will spend four years before they could be considered.
Despite this and contrary to the recommendation of BPACs, four particular officers currently on foreign postings and who were last promoted in 2012 were invited for the promotion examination in 2014.
The four were the only ones promoted to the rank of Comptroller of Immigration despite the CPAC declaring no vacancy for the position and non of the other officers serving at home who performed much better than these ones got elevated.
Details of their scores as available to this magazine revealed that the four of them scored the least in their category with 32, 35, 46 and 46 respectively while others scored 80, 77, 66, 65, 64, 60,59,53, 50 and none of these were promoted.
There are allegations that a particular senior officer collected between N2 million and N1.5 million as bribe from these officers to earn their promotion over qualified and better scoring others.
“In the examinations, seniority is 40 marks and since these four were junior in their ranks, they all scored zero and also scored zero in their annual performance evaluation assessment. How then could they have been promoted”, a senior officer queried.
An officer who got promoted told our correspondent “what is going on in our ministry is terrible. I wrote the exam the last time and I passed very well but when I was asked to pay for promotion, I was not able to pay more than N50,000 because my mother just died at the time and I had spent a lot on the burial ceremonies, I lost the promotion.”
Morale in the medical cadre of the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) is currently at the lowest ebb and problem looms with medical doctors already resigning their commission and seeking secondment to other Federal Government establishments.
There are allegations that the NPS under the watch of CDFIP Board has concluded plan to impose a GD officer as the Deputy Comptroller General and Head of health and Social Welfare Directorate against the law and precedence.
That is why the appointment of Dr. Udom ACG has not been confirmed even after acting for two years and she was not recommended for promotion to DCG despite being most qualified.
On January 1, 2004, some 21 officers were promoted to the rank of Comptroller of Prisons with three of them being medical doctors and another one a pharmacist.
These same set were sent to the 3rd Advanced Command Course for Comptrollers of Prisons at the Prisons Staff School, Kaduna and were trained and certified for general duties.
In November 2014, three vacancies were initially declared for general duties (GD) officers but five other consequential vacancies opened due to retirements. However, when letters of promotion interviews were sent out, no medical personnel was considered but due to some protests, the two qualified doctors were invited as the third had retired earlier.
By the time that results were released, despite the fact that they performed well in the examination, none of the doctors were promoted even as 12 General Duties Comptrollers were eventually elevated to Deputy Comptroller General of Prisons including a Health Officer who was two years their junior as he was promoted in 2006.
Our investigations revealed that three additional vacancies were spontaneously declared during the board meeting to accommodate three additional GDs officers.
There is anger within the rank of medical officers as they are now lamenting discriminations especially as they attend same training with so-called GDs and now they have additional advantage of being able to perform both as GD and medical officers.
Already, three medical doctors resigned their appointments in 2014 out of frustration and the consequences of doctors leaving the service is better imagined with additional disadvantage of reversing the major reforms of 1989-1993.
The situation with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps is particularly pathetic. According to our findings, Comptroller General (CG) of NSCDC, Dr. Ade Abolurin was sure of getting a two-year extension to his tenure from President Goodluck Jonathan after already spending 10 years in the position. Unfortunately for him, Jonathan lost the election and both Abolurin and his caucus in NSCDC knew that President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari would not be disposed to such arrangement especially as Buhari had shunned him when the NSCDC boss visited him in Daura shortly after the election.
In a hurry to rush the much delayed promotion through, examinations were hurriedly conducted for selected officers at the last minute. At the Board secretariat, Abolurin was informed that the time was too short and that because of personnel shortage, the promotion exercise would have to take a longer time to be concluded. In panic, the CG took 10 of his loyalists notwithstanding that they also wrote the exams. They got access into the computer room of the Board secretariat and compiled the results.
A staff of the secretariat told our correspondent that at a point, Abolurin went to the office with a list of those to be promoted and insisted on the particular order that the manes were to appear on the promotion list. “When we released the list and the names did not follow the numerical order that he brought to us, the man rejected it and insisted that we typed it again”, the staff lamented.
Even as officers of the paramilitary agencies and staff of the ministry express frustration at the unprecedented levels of corruption and general malpractices which characterised the promotion exercise, four days to the end of the administration and precisely on May 25, the Director/Secretary of the board secretarial, A.A Ibrahim yet wrote another memo to the Aba Moro as Chairman of the board seeking approval for special promotion “of some officers from NSCDC, FFS, NPS and NIS respectively.” It was approved on May 26.
This way, 61 officers from the four agencies got what a staff described as “the most bizarre type of promotion I have ever heard about in my life”. Majority of the manes were from the same state. From the Prisons, environmental health officer was promoted from Assistant Comptroller of Prisons straight to Comptroller.
At the Federal Fire Service, an officer, also from the same state with Moro was elevated from level nine to 12 without writing any exam, none of them qualified and so the question being asked Moro, Ibrahim and Ibrahim’s personal assistant is “why and how do these 61 qualify for special promotion?”
The complaining officers who produced copious documents to establish the malpractices urged President Muhammadu Buhari to come to their rescue by instituting an enquiry into the rushed promotion exercise.
All attempts to get the side of Director/Secretary of the Board proved abortive as the officers at the entrance of the office located at the Old Secretariat, Garki insisted on the two occasions that our correspondents visited that Mr. Ibrahim was busy. According to one of them called Oyinbo (real names withheld) said the director does not see anybody except on appointment.
He directed us to call his mobile number but when we asked for the number, none of the sentries was ready to provide it.