…summons Aregbesola, NIS boss, others
The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee, at the weekend, tackled the Nigeria Immigration Service over engagement of consultants to manage visa and passport related matters at the nation’s missions across the world.
The committee chaired by Dr Busayo Oluwole Oke has, therefore, summoned the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry and the Acting Comptroller General of Immigration to appear before it on Wednesday to address the issue.
The Committee issued the summon on the affected individuals when the Acting Comptroller General of the Service, Idris Jere, represented by an Assistant Comptroller General, Budget Olubusola Fashakin, appeared before the committee over a query from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation against the NIS.
The Chairman of the Committee lamented that the ugly incident was costing the country a lot of money and should be stopped immediately since there were personnel adequately trained for the same purpose.
According to him, “We visited your Embassies and the Auditor General raised some queries on some Missions; so we visited South Africa and Atlanta, US. We discovered that Nigeria is losing serious money through your operations. You engaged consultants to manage your passports and visas platform.
“In our opinion, NIS personnel were trained to manage visa and passport matters. That is your core mandate. So, on what basis are you now engaging Consultants? So, what are you people doing in the offices? So, your men are idle, roaming the streets; this is not acceptable to the Parliament. Something has to be done to stop the economic wastage.
“I give you a scenario. In South Africa, out of a revenue of $213, a Consultant took $90. Out of that $213, only $15 came to the Nigerian purse. That particular consultant is managing 14 countries. And Nigeria is bleeding through this window and we would continue to borrow money to finance our budget and one person sitting down in the corner of his room is making $90 on each applicant. It would not continue.
“The Minister of Interior, the Permanent Secretary, the CG of the Service is to cause appearance before this committee to speak to this issue. You have a letter from this committee asking you to furnish this committee with the particulars of all the Consultants you have engaged and the agreement you signed with them. Nigeria is bleeding through this window
“What are your personnel doing? Why did we train you and engage you? Your personnel are idle, roaming the streets, sitting down in the offices and Consultants are doing your job and taking away our money.
“The Minister of Interior, the Permanent Secretary, the CG have to come with the agreement you signed and give reasons that they have to deny personnel trained and employed to do this work. You are also exposing Nigerians to risk. Data protection. We owe Nigerians a high duty of care and we would discharge it.”
The Committee also directed NIS to furnish it with procurement records for utilization of money collected through service wide votes and deployed for capital purposes from 2013 to 2018.
The Committee said this was necessary due to discrepancies in the submissions by the NIS to the committee on how the funds were managed over the years.