Immigration officials threaten elections’ boycott over alleged unpaid allowances
Officials of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS have pleaded with the Comptroller-General (CG), Idris Isah Jire, to offset their election duty allowances, else they would boycott this weekend’s governorship and Houses of Assembly polls.
The personnel, under the aegis of Concerned Staff of NIS, claimed that they were even perks allowances.
The officials, who briefed The Guardian at two different occasions, threatened to boycott Saturday’s.
Their spokesman, who craved anonymity, said: “Our counterparts in the Ministry of Interior have been paid. Our friends in the Civil Defence have been paid. Our friends in the Army and the Police have also been paid. I don’t know why our case is different. It is not fair. The money has been paid, but some ‘big men’ in the Service have connived to sit on the money so that after sometime, they will share the funds, as they did in 2019 general elections.
“Officers are to receive N70,000 each, while junior ranks are to receive N30,000 each. We spent our money for hotel accommodation during the last Presidential and National Assembly elections. We spent our money for transportation and feeding. Yet, the Service is preaching ethics of the job.
“They failed to do the needful. So, how will a hungry official not compromise during elections? The Federal Government is talking of credible elections, yet it does not care about the welfare of the officers assisting in the conduct of the elections. There is no way a hungry official, who has no hope of receiving his allowances, will not compromise during the elections. It is better that we are withdrawn from election duty, instead of sending us without money and with empty stomach.
“We can’t talk because when you talk, you will be disciplined. There are many things happening in the Service that we have been condoning, but this time around, we want to start pouring out our minds. For instance, if you visit our offices, especially in Lagos State Command, you will see officers, who were transferred from other states, sleeping in offices because their transfer allowances have not been paid.
It is an eyesore to see people cooking in offices. Sleeping in office is against the Immigration Act, but the authority cannot do anything about it because it has failed in its duty of paying them their allowances. Some of us have been in the same rank for over 20 years without promotion. The authority conducted a promotion examination since 2021, but the results have not been released, because the authority doesn’t want to pay promotion allowances. Let the authority release the outcome.
He continued: “We are going through hell. Some of us are on salary of N45,000. An Inspector of Immigration receives N82,000, while his counterpart in the Nigeria Customs Service earns more than N200,000 and the authority keeps lecturing us on ethics.”
Why would a frustrated officer, who sees the colossal difference between his or her salary of others from sister agencies, not be corrupt? If any Immigration officer is corrupt, it is the NIS authority that pushed him or her to be corrupt. Except the Immigration authority does something drastic about our plights, it should not expect us to be sincere on our job.
Some of us have put in 30 years in the Service and will soon retire, but there is nothing to show for our efforts on the job. Some of our colleagues have died without receiving their allowances and gratuities.
“We are therefore, appealing to our CG to look into our plights, especially on issues of promotion, allowances, entitlements and gratuities. The most important one is our election allowances. If by Friday morning, we don’t get our election allowances, we won’t participate in Saturday’s gubernatorial and Houses of Assembly elections.”
However, the Service’s Public Relation Officer, Tony Akunneme, in a telephone chat, last week, said the election allowances had been paid, but left for individual banks to credit accounts of personnel.