President Muhammadu Buhari has again rubbished the Civil Service rule on retirement of officials of the Federal Civil Service, approving tenure extension for Isah Idris Jere, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
The NIS boss, whose official retirement date was April 24, 2022 (last Sunday) having attained the age of 60 as stipulated by civil service rules, will now continue to preside over the affairs of the agency for one more year following the latest development.
Despite being fully aware of Jere’s status as already being pencilled down for retirement last week, President Buhari, like in the past, ignored all laid down rules to unlawfully elongate his tenure, thereby denying other officers in the NIS a chance to move up the ladder.
In a letter dated April 22, 2022, and addressed to the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, announced the approval of the extension of Jere’s tenure with immediate effect.
The letter read, “I write in reference to your correspondence dated March 15, 2022 on the above subject matter and wish to inform you that Mr President has approved a one-year extension for the Ag. CGI, Alhaji Idris Isah Jere, with effect from April 24, 2022.”
In a list dated December 6, 2021, containing names of 804 officers of the agency to be retired between January 1 and December 31, 2022, seen by SaharaReporters, Jere’s name appears first.
Reacting to the development and responding to the commendation of President Buhari for the extension by Hussaini Coomasie, a former immigration officer and Vice Chairman of Advocacy for Good Governance and Social Justice, Tolu Babaleye, Secretary of Act for Positive Transformation Initiative, said the move is against civil service rules and capable of creating rancour within the agency.
Babaleye said, “Acting CGI Idris Isah Jere ought to have taken a bow out of office on April 24, 2022, but still going about with uniform and paraphernalia of office.
“We call on President Buhari and Minister of Interior to do justice by ensuring that a new officer is appointed to encourage carrier progression as extending the tenure of Jere will dampen the morale of the officers of the Service.
“By virtue of Section 3 and 4 of Immigration Act 2015, Jere is retired and no longer an immigration officer and he is not appointable otherwise all civil servants that have attained the age of 60 should have their tenure extended. An extension of the tenure of Jere as CGI will lay another bad precedent and will kill the morale of officers and men of the Nigeria Immigration Service.
“The officers working with NIS should be allowed to get to the pinnacle of their careers by allowing the young to grow instead of bringing officers from retirement to head the Nigeria Immigration Service. The agency needs a() fresh hand for innovative ideas.”
This is not the first time that President Buhari will be breaching civil service rules to either extend the tenure of an official due for retirement or appoint a retiree to head a government agency, the latest merely adds to a long list in this category.
For instance, in 2018, Buhari ignored other officers on the line for elevation from the Southern part of Nigeria to bring Yusuf Bichi, a Muslim from Kano, from retirement to head the Department of State Services (DSS) after the controversial removal of Matthew Seiyefa, a former acting Director-General of the agency from Bayelsa State.
In February 2021, Buhari caused public outrage after extending the tenure of the then Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, for three months after the police boss’ retirement.
The President claimed that the move was to allow more time for the appointment of a worthy replacement.
On August 27, 2015, Buhari appointed Colonel Hameed Ali (retd) as Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, attracting criticisms from a wide section of the populace.
Ali, a former military officer and administrator of Kaduna State, had no prior career in the NSC, making his appointment a subject of controversy at the time.
However, despite the public outrage, President Buhari refused to replace him, keeping the 67-year-old in that position to date.