First Lady Patience Jonathan and Interior minister Abba Moro protect errant immigration officers from being sanctioned for misdemeanor
The First Lady, Patience Jonathan, and the minister of interior, Abba
Moro, have been accused of shielding two senior immigration officers
from facing disciplinary action and sanctions for misconduct and
conversion of property of the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, into
The two officers allegedly misappropriated two vehicles belonging to the service kept in their custody and have refused to account for them relying on their closeness to the First Lady and the interior minister.
Many of the colleagues of the errant officers are miffed that rather
than being sanctioned by the immigration authorities for their
misconduct, the two have since been promoted or deployed to highly
The two officers are David Adi, a deputy comptroller, who was
recently posted to Kaduna as passport comptroller and Fimibama Steven,
an assistant comptroller general in charge of River State command who
has now been posted to the NIS headquarters in Abuja.
In the case of Fimibama, an indigene of Rivers State, he is said to
have gotten the posting to head the state command contrary to long
standing tradition in the service that officers do not head state
commands where they hale from.
It was gathered that officers are usually not posted to head a
command in their state of origin except on health grounds and even then
only when they have just a few months to retire.
But this was not the case with Fimibama who is said to have succeeded
in lobbying the First Lady, also an indigene of Rivers State, who
directed the minister of interior to ensure that he was posted to his
But as fate would have it, the officer went to Port Harcourt and
misbehaved. Sometime last year, the River State government bought and
handed over some vehicles to the immigration and prison services to
support their operations in the state.
While the prison service got three Toyota Hormer buses, two Toyota
Hilux patrol and one Toyota Coaster bus, the NIS got a Toyota Camry car.
The vehicles were presented to the heads of the two services on
behalf of the state government by the secretary to the state government,
George Feyii. While Jerome Babalola Ogundana received the prison
service’s vehicles, Fimibama received the Toyota Camry car on behalf of
the immigration service.
The River State comptroller of immigration, however, saw an opportunity of owning a brand new car in the gift and refused to report the government gesture to anybody at the state command or the NIS headquarters.
He took the car straight to his house and converted it to personal
use. This was in spite of the fact that the immigration service in the
state was short of operational vehicles which is why the state
government gave it the car in the first instance.
The cat was, however, fortuitously let out of the bag when the River
State government in its official publication, Insight, published details
of the gift to both the immigration and prison services.
When officers in the state command saw the publication, they promptly
reported the matter to the headquarters which ordered an investigation.
The investigation not only confirmed that Fimibama converted to
personal use a car gift from the River State government but also made
other unsavoury disclosures. For example, it was found out that he was
actually due to have retired since 2012 having reached the 35 years
limit of length of service.
Fimibama’s name had actually been published in 2011 on the list of officers that were going to retire the next year. But because of his connections in high places he has remained in service and even got promoted in 2012.
Fimibama was ordered to hand over the car in question to his
successor, but he left Port Harcourt for his new posting in Abuja
without doing so.
As for Adi, an indigene of Taraba State, he was queried in January by
the immediate past comptroller general of immigration, Rose Uzoma, in
connection with the disappearance of the service’s ambulance.
It was gathered that when Uzoma took over as CG, she received a
report from the comptroller of works that 15 operational vehicles went
missing in the NIS headquarters under her predecessor, Chukwuma Udeh,
when Adi was transport officer.
Investigations carried out on the retired Uzoma’s orders showed that
15 operational and staff vehicles, including an ambulance had
In the case of the ambulance, Adi had reported that it had an accident and got money approved for its repairs.
However, the ambulance was never returned to the pool after it was
purportedly repaired and when asked, the transport officer could not
give proper account.
Sources in the immigration service said that Uzoma was very angry
about the missing ambulance because it was the only operational one at
the time it disappeared.
Confronted with possibility of facing disciplinary action, Adi ran to
the minister of interior for protection. And that is what he got.
Rather than account for the missing ambulance or get sanctioned, the
minister instructed the errant deputy comptroller deployed to Kaduna
State as the passport control officer.
Immigration officer who spoke to icirnigeria.org expressed worry that
favouritism and nepotism such as has been exhibited by the two officers
are fueling gross indiscipline in the service.
“It has reached a worrying level so much so that as long as you have a
godfather, you can commit any crime and not only get away with it but
also rub it in by getting rewarded for wrongdoing,” one of the officers
Another said that a situation where godfathers outside the service
influence the fate of officers fuels disrespect, unruly behavior,
disloyalty and indiscipline as favoured persons believe that they can do
anything and get away with it.
It was observed that for a security agency, it is dangerous for
officers of the immigration to maintain loyalty to civilians, however
highly places, because it means that they can be induced to take actions
against internal security.