EXCLUSIVE: ALEDEH Uncovers Corruption Unlimited At Nigerian Immigration Service; Whistleblower Gets Death Threat

Nigeria’s burgeoning integrated online media platform, ALEDEH has uncovered massive fraud and corruption in the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) under the leadership of the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration, Muhammad Babandede.

Just like the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) under IGP Ibrahim Idris which we scooped in September 2017, and many other public institutions, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) under Muhammad Babandede leadership stinks of infernal corruption ALEDEH can report.

Babandede, who was appointed as the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration May 15, 2016, by President Muhammadu Buhari to replace Mr. Martin Kure Abeshi, had promised to rid the “service off corruption” but the reverse is the case as ALEDEH has uncovered “corruption unlimited” at the Service under his watch.

Image result for Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration, Muhammad Babandede
The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration, Muhammad Babandede.

Investigations carried out by ALEDEH, reveals that a lot of illegalities are currently going on at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport located in Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial city as well as Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city as NIS officials go on rampage; collecting illegal levies from unsuspicious foreigners.

The Nigerian Immigration ACT 2015 sighted by ALEDEH, says anybody who overstays or commits an immigration offence will be deported and that the deportation is at the cost of the Federal Government through the Minister of Interior with no fine in the sum of $1,000 attached.

However, findings by ALEDEH reveals that some foreigners who have overstayed in Nigeria are made to pay the sum of $1,000 at the airport by immigration officers on their way out of the country.

“A case of this nature occurred sometimes ago when some Chinese nationals who have overstayed in Nigeria and were returning back to their country, were made to pay $1,000 before leaving despite booking their tickets already”, a source told ALEDEH.

Another source who is a top-ranked officer in the NIS told ALEDEH that: “They collect close to $100,000 daily but remit within $1,000 to $2,000 in a day into NIS account and not the Federation Account.

This NIS account the source said is operated by few NIS staff under the control of the Comptroller General of the Service, Babandede.

Our source stressed that: “the same money, the one they agree to pay into the NIS account does not end up in the Federation’s Account. If by chance they pay five of that fine into NIS account maybe one or two in a week will end up in the federation’s account so why are we watching one individual tarnishing the image of Nigeria, defrauding Nigeria visitors”, the furious officer questioned.

The source further said that: “at the end of the day giving us a bad image especially knowing well that Nigerian population is mobile, Nigerian population is everywhere in the world. As I talk to you Foreign Affairs Ministry is in receipt of a letter of protest of other countries we have bilateral or multilateral agreements with because some of these things being done they didn’t take into consideration the bilateral or multilateral agreements, now the whole world is threatening to retaliate on Nigerians”, the source lamented.

Investigations by ALEDEH, however, reveals that the $1,000 is being collected till date by Immigration officers without any law backing such fee neither is the NIS ACT as sighted by ALEDEH is backing it.

Like the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) promotion scandal uncovered by ALEDEH in our Exclusive story titled: ” Promotion Fraud In The Nigerian Police Plus Those “Controlling” The IGP“, which was published September 22, 2017, ALEDEH has again uncovered another promotion scandal in the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).

ALEDEH gathered that most special promotions in the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) under the leadership of the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration, Muhammad Babandede is purchased and not merited.

Findings by ALEDEH reveals that most officers get promoted in the Nigerian Immigration after paying N500,000 or N1 million for such promotion.

Similarly, ALEDEH gathered that some Nigerians pay as much as N50,000 to N100,000 to get the Nigerian passport.

This sleaze is a hurricane that sweeps across all NIS offices across the nation, ALEDEH can authoritatively report.

Sources tell ALEDEH that some PPP contracts entered into by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) are illegal.

Another NIS source who is in the Passport Department of the Service told ALEDEH that illegalities and fraud have gotten to an embarrassing height especially in the issuance of Passports.

“Nigerians will go to get a passport and they are duped in the process, supervised by the management. The management gives a figure which everybody collects, they send the money around”, the source lamented, calling on President Buhari to look into the matter.

Apart from the corruption and fraud in the NIS, ALEDEH also uncovered the suspicious death of one “Andrew Lucas” who worked in the Armoring Department of the Nigerian Immigration.

A source in NIS told ALEDEH that Andrew Lucas was sent on an errand and was instructed to carry ammunition from the government armory to unknown  people, “the boy in the process took some for himself and wanted to sell, in the process of selling these ammunition he fell into the hands of Police who arrested him and handed him over to Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Abuja”, the source said.

The source told ALEDEH that Lucas was detained for about two weeks and while he was in detention, his family members had access to him.

Late NIS officer, Andrew Lucas.

“Lucas was hale and hearty and the police were trying to extract information from him on how he got the ammunition and where he works. While the investigation was going on, Muhammad Babandede the CG of NIS got wind of it and went to the police and asked the police to release Lucas to him. Police released the boy to him hale and hearty few weeks after he was released Lucas died”, the NIS source told ALEDEH.

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The NIS source continued: “Muhammad Babandede locked up so many officers and will tell people to be torturing them without food and medication.  He locked a British lady for over 6 months without court orders, for refusing to comply with outrageous demands” the source who berated the act said.

In a bid to get a full glimpse of the scenario as it is a sensitive issue, ALEDEH reached out to the family of late Lucas and a source in the family told us a similar story like that of the NIS source.

The family source said late Andrew Lucas died in NIS custody and that the family did not know when NIS took him into custody but knew when he was in the custody of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

“He was fine, healthy and did not complain of any injury. I wouldn’t say he was tortured but the day Immigration took him into custody we didn’t know, the only thing I know then is that my late brother sent for me, he said I should come personally and see him on Friday but then I was writing my exams so I couldn’t go that Friday, on Saturday on my way going, they said he is dead. That’s all I know about my brother’s death, none of his family member, his wife nor his children were there as at the time of death till when I went there on Saturday, I only saw him in the mortuary that is all we knew” the source told ALEDEH.

The source continued: “Immigration told us it was a natural death, then I went there, collected the death certificate and with the nature of what was written on the death certificate, it says something like acute kidney injury and some other things. I am not a medical practitioner and I don’t know more about that”, the family source added.

Late NIS officer, Andrew Lucas’ death certificate.

The family source told ALEDEH that Lucas was buried last week Wednesday, October 3, 2017, and no autopsy was carried out.

The source told ALEDEH that when the family requested the police report for Lucas’ death, the NIS said there was no police report.

“When we were going to the immigration we knew their body language”, the source told ALEDEH, “we asked for the police report but they took it personally. NIS said there was no police report. We wanted him to be buried after investigation but we were told police have not given approval for that, as we speak if there was approval by the police, there was no further investigation from NIS to know what caused Lucas’ death”, the source lamented.

The family source told ALEDEH that: “there is something NIS is hiding. There are a lot of things they don’t want us to know as a family which we don’t know.

“I suspect the cause of death. I met few people who told me there are many things that could have caused his death either torture or poisoning but an autopsy would have given more insight into the cause of the death and that was why immigration mounted pressure on us and relations that we should bury him fast.

“If you see the speed that they gave that we should bury this boy, that alone is a reason to be suspicious. “Why were we given such a short time” the source questioned.

The source told ALEDEH that the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration met members of the family and demanded that Lucas is buried fast as the cause of death was natural.

“You see the CG met with senior members of the family and begged that the family should bury Lucas that it was a natural death and that NIS would assist the family with the burial arraignment”, the told ALEDEH.

The source told ALEDEH that the family asked one of the Deputy Comptrollers if there was further investigation on the cause of Lucas’ death but that the NIS DC was economical with the truth.

“Before the burial we asked one of the Deputy Comptrollers, the cause of death if there was further investigation and if the police report approved this boy’s burial but the man was so angry with us, very aggressive telling us that we had no right to ask for that because it was not our right as a family to ask that. So it was a threat to us too even to me, it so pathetic and I wouldn’t want to go further”, the source lamented.

Meanwhile, a whistleblower and senior officer in the NIS, Barr. Daniel Daudu Makolo has raised alarm over a threat to his life following a petition he made about the NIS Comptroller General.

Makolo told ALEDEH that he has faced series of victimization since he petitioned Muhammad Babandede.

He said he had written to the President about the illegalities in the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).

The letter entitled: RE: Need To Declare A State Of Emergency In Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Board (CDFIPSB) And The Supervising Ministry Of Interior (FMI) and sighted by ALEDEH, Makolo said President Buhari should probe “the fraudulent,  dubious and illegal PPP projects/contracts introduced into NIS operations, adding that “they are void in morals, law and against natural security interest of Nigeria”.

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” When the letter was sent to the AGF and the President, the office of the President wrote a letter to the Minister of Interior, copied me and sent to NIS, to review the situation, and report back to the Presidency. Which they didn’t like.  What I said in the letter was the basis of the whole matter”, Makolo told ALEDEH.

Makolo Writes President Buhari over NIS fraud under Babandede watch

The NIS senior officer alleged that he would have been murdered if he had not raised the alarm about the corruption in NIS.

“If I didn’t raise alarm he would have killed me since I have already petitioned him, I am saying the fraud in Immigration is unprecedented, the next would have been for him to bundle and then murder me.

“Under NIS laws, anybody can cry out if you see another officer being tortured or on the wrong side, for the sake of the management and I wrote to the human rights commission,  IG of police and when I wrote to the Presidency, the first one I wrote was acknowledged. the CG got so mad and the next thing he said I must be destroyed at all cost”, Makolo said.

Makolo told ALEDEH that Babandede boasted: “I will eliminate you and throw away your corpse and nothing will happen because this is Nigeria”, he said.

The NIS senior officer continued: “The next thing he posted me to Maiduguri where he will kill me and cover up with Boko-Harm crisis and I told him I am not proceeding on that posting. He queried me and I answered the query. The following week he followed it up with a quit notice that forcefully ejects me from my official apartment and gave me 3 hours to move out of the apartment. I went back to court.

“When I raised that eyebrow two to three weeks I was accused of being a Boko-Haram sponsor, I found myself in an underground cell of the SSS…I was escorted there by a heavily armed escort. When I got there I asked the commandant in charge of counter-terrorism what I was doing here and he looked at me and said, young man, what are you saying?

“They accused me of so many things, they said I collect N7 million for every operation and I don’t share it with my colleagues, but I was shocked and I told him it’s not true. I was given an opportunity to defend myself but I suffered for 21 days before I was released. I came out of that place, I investigated and I wrote a report. The report I wrote to them, SSS and the rest, they investigated and discovered that I was innocent. However NIS refused to clear me so I can get my things from the SSS, we ended up in court and the court fined NIS N1 million and reprimanded them for unlawful actions. They got angry and asked why I challenged the system I am part of and I told them the system is wrong. That has been the war” he told ALEDEH.

Makolo continued: “For the past ten years I have not been allowed to attain promotion on a phantom grounds that I was facing disciplinary proceedings, they never issued me any query, I never appeared in any disciplinary committee.

“The CG was employed 1985, I was employed 1987, I have served 30 years in the NIS without blemish. I have been recommended several times for special promotion but instead of that, I get victimization because of what I stand for.

“When I was not promoted I wrote to the Head of Service, several government agencies but nothing came out of court so I proceeded to the Industrial Court. Early this year I was cleared of any wrong I was accused of.

“If Muhammad Babandede who was employed two years before me is CG, then I should be Deputy CG. I am a citizen of this country you can’t  intimidate me, the court looked at the issue and said I can’t put in for new promotion because they said I was being accused.

Makolo told ALEDEH that he is alive today because he was not at his house last week when armed men came visiting.

His words: “Last week they visited my house though I was not around and they started shooting sporadically, people were calling my line to tell me to take cover that they are coming for me.

“They pulled down the door to my apartment, threw away all my law books, every other belonging into the rain. They carted some of my documents and my underwears”, the senior NIS officer lamented.

Meanwhile, we put a call through to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) PRO, Sunday James at exactly 1:59 pm on Sunday, October 8 but he told our correspondent he was in transit and that the reporter should call back in the evening. The reporter called back 4:33 pm to get reactions from the NIS, but Mr. James who is an Assistant Comptroller of Immigration Service told the reporter he would prefer the questions are forwarded as a text message which the reporter did at 5: 10 pm. This he never got any reply. As at the time this report was filed, Monday, October 9, 2017, at 12:00 noon there is still no word from the NIS.

ALEDEH will be uncovering the ills in most agencies in the country in order to make Nigeria a better place, stayed glued to this online integrated media platform.

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    Dauda Momoh

    (Mon 19 Muharram 1439AH 9-10-2017AD - 2:21 pm)

    Excellent job. May God continue to be your Guide and Protector, Amin.

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