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‘I left immigration better than I found it’ — Babandede retires as CG

Author:
Samuel Akpan

Muhammed Babandede, comptroller-general of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), has retired after spending 36 years in service.

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Idris Isah Jere, deputy comptroller-general in charge of finance and accounts, is expected to take over in acting capacity, pending the appointment of a new comptroller-general by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking at a valedictory session organised for him on Friday, Babandede said his success as comptroller-general was made possible by the support of team members.

“Today is independence day for me; independence because it has been a difficult time. My wife will keep saying ‘will you die working?’ My wife keeps saying, ‘you keep working even in the night’,” he said.

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“Immigration has changed, but I didn’t change it alone. Immigration has improved; I didn’t improve it alone. Immigration has become digital; I didn’t digitalise it alone. I did it together with all of you, the team. I commend you very well. Whatever reward I get goes to all of you also.”

Babandede also advised the officers to support future efforts to make the NIS better.

“Please, I am going; don’t throw away the ideas we started. Physically, I am not around, but keep the good things. Change the bad things; amend it, but always do it through concession. All the things I have done, I have done it by having a process,” he said.

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“I will also like to appreciate the Spanish government. I know the Spanish government gave me an honour — the highest medal in Spain. I am yet to take it, but I look forward to taking it. Thank you so much for that honour given to me.

“I spent 36 years. I should be grateful to God. I have spent five years and four months as comptroller-general, so I cannot abandon my baby. Immigration is my baby; it will not be abandoned. I am proud to say I have left immigration better than I found it.”

Babandede was appointed as the 16th comptroller-general of NIS in May 2016.

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