I am writing this letter to Your Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, to save us from uncertainty concerning the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment that has been cancelled with the sack of the NIS Comptroller-General, David Shikfu Parradang.
President Muhammadu Buhari attending to some files in his office as he resumed duties at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida
Sir, I was in shock when the news broke on the social media, and with confirmation by fellow NIS recruits that our induction programme has been placed on suspension by the Service.
Reality dawned on me when on August 24, August, 2015, the NIS boss in my state command disseminated the information that the ongoing three months induction programme has been suspended based on a circular sent from NIS headquarters Abuja, stating that 1,600 officers were recruited into the service “illegally”.
How could this be?
The recruitment exercise was advertised in March, 2015, by the Presidential Committee to assist in the Immigration Recruitment from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, as a recent statistics states that about 60 per cent of youths in the country are jobless.
Even as several youths who have jobs still seek greener pasture elsewhere, interested youths all over the federation filled the application forms online and uploaded all the necessary documents.
Applicants who met the stated requirements were shortlisted for a Computer-Based Aptitude Test. The test was conducted by Dragnet, a firm that specialises in handling recruitment tests for reputable companies in Nigeria like Chevron, Oando and others in some designated areas across the nation.
I noticed that virtually every applicant within the south-west home address did their CBT at Chams City Plaza in Lagos, between 20 and 24, April, 2015; those in the north did theirs in Abuja, while Port Harcourt was also a centre for the south-southerners.
I got an e-mail from NIS that I passed the CBT and that I have been shortlisted for physical examination, document verification and oral interview which is designated to hold in my state command.
I went as instructed by the service and I was amazed that a recruitment exercise could be this free and fair at the federal level. The NIS recruitment officials measured my height and chest, checked my knees, examined my ability to hear and see clearly. Series of questions were asked by the officials based on what I studied in school, and also series of verification were carried out on all my certificates presented that very day.
To my surprise, I received an invitation to obtain provisional appointment letter and undergo preliminary documentation at the Nigeria Immigration Training School, Orlu, Imo State (NITSOL), while others went to Nigeria Immigration Training School, Kano (Assistant Superintendent 2) and Immigration Training School, Ahoada, Rivers State (Immigration Assistant 3).
I, immediately called some of my friends that we applied together but it was painful that I was the only fortunate applicant shortlisted of the twelve of us that applied together.
It wasn’t easy gathering money, travelling to Imo state especially during the fuel scarcity crisis in the country. The process in the centre was another hectic screening exercise on its own, as it took over to a week to pass through the various stages of document verification and further certification of candidates’ eligibility.
Surprisingly, the ASI 2’s were only issued with posting order to the NIS command in their different states of origin without being giving appointment letters like the IA3 and AII’s.
The posting order read thus, “…I am directed to inform you that the above named newly recruited personnel has been posted to your command for attachment and induction with immediate effect, pending when they will be sent for training. The letter of appointment will be sent in due course. Please acknowledge receipt and date the newly recruited staff reports for duty.”
However, the reason ASI 2’s were not issued their appointment letters wasn’t made known.
The induction programme started on the June 1, 2015, which comprises rigorous activities such early morning jogging, always beginning by 6.am, parade and drills, fatigue, among others. Aside this, we were also introduced to the following courses: Immigration Act and Manual, Weapon Handling and Police Duties, Border Patrol, ECOWAS and African Affairs, Document Fraud, Passport and other travel documents, CERPAC/VISA/QUOTA, as well as Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Labour, among other.
We have all been specially trained in the rudiments of these courses in the last three months so as to carry out our duties effectively.
Most of the recruits have resigned from different places of work, rented an apartment, some have even borrowed money so as to survive, pending the time we start getting salary. Some spent heavily on transportation, feeding, buying of induction materials (white socks, white vest, white shorts, white tennis e.t.c).
Our passing out parade has been scheduled to come up on September 1, 2015 of which in preparation, we have been parading under the sun and in the rain, drills from the instructors and so on. We have gotten our accoutrements and preparing our minds towards that glorious day when the heart breaking circular came that after three months spent with rigorous exercises during the induction, we were placed on suspension.
Sir, I pray that the aforementioned should be sufficed to prove right our recruitment exercise free and fair.
I am scared of what might become of these recruits who have been trained in weapon handling if suspended from this job.
Thus, I solicit for myself and my colleagues to be retained as NIS successful candidates, as we all never disappoint you
Mr. President sir, if we are laid off or dismissed after having filled our application forms online and uploaded all the necessary documents, underwent recruitment tests, three months of rigorous induction exercises, the psychological trauma this will have on all the NIS newly recruited personnel, as well as our families will be unprecedented.
Kindly accept my plea and cry on behalf of my colleagues as our President, father and inspiring mentor that believes in excellent performance.
Ade Lawal, is one of the new recruits affected by the suspension of NIS recruitment.