Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
The International Centre for Migration Policy Development ICMPD -an intergovernmental organization with 19-member states- has launched a training programme for the Nigeria Immigration Service NIS, with the aim of boosting the efficiency of personnel in border and migration management.
Speaking at the project inauguration and presentation of the assessment report on Modernizing Nigeria Immigration Service Workforce MoNIS, Head of Office, ICMPD in Nigeria and West Africa, Mrs Mojisola Sodeinde noted that the NIS functions in a challenging and difficult environment characterized by a large expanse of land and limited resources.
She said; “In August 2021 following the signing of the agreement between ICMPD and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the donor), a team of ICMPD BMS Experts joined by 5 NIS officials conducted a Border Management and Security assessment of the service (at the strategic and operational levels), HR management, recruitment and promotion practices, available training programs and criteria for the selection of staff for training. This included a tour of the Abuja International airport and a visit the Illela land border crossing point in Sokoto to explore other operational gaps and needs of the NIS, associated with its role and responsibilities as a border management and security agency.
“The assessment team also conducted an in-depth review of two out of the four (4) NIS training academies i.e. the Ahoada Training School in River State and the Command and Staff College, Sokoto.
“The ECOWAS protocol allows the free movement of people and goods within the West Africa region and through Nigeria’s borders. Nigeria shares long and porous land borders with four neighbouring countries of Benin, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
“The land borders are easily and are regularly traversed by persons, avoiding the limited number of official land border crossing points (BCPs), and the patrols who are supposed to monitor the open areas between the BCPs. In the northeast, Lake Chad Basin region Nigeria’s border security integrity has been severely compromised by conflict and displacement caused by the terrorist group Boko Haram and its affiliate, the Islamic State that has transcended international borders.
“In the challenging environment within which the agency works, and the threats posed by criminal networks, immigration officers have to learn new skills in order to meet the responsibilities of their roles as frontline actors.
“As part of its ongoing reforms, NIS has expressed the need to coordinate all the training and career development activities organized by the four immigration academies, as well as those organized by international donors, international organizations, and other government agencies. Training has largely been supply-driven and often organized with narrow interests and focus. NIS is embarking on modernizing its workforce, which will make all forms of career development not only demand-driven but also linked to personnel performance.
“This project will support the Nigeria Immigration Service in drafting critical policy documents, personnel guidelines, training curricula, as well as operational directives, which will form the basis for developing an efficient, competent and better-performing workforce that is ready to face the complex challenges of an increasingly difficult work environment. The approach of this engagement is to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Nigeria Immigration Service through technical support and capacity strengthening of relevant units to perform the activities of the project.
“The key focus of this approach is to ensure that the beneficiaries of the project participate equally in the implementation of the project, given the significance of the documents to be drafted, which will have a long-lasting impact on all NIS personnel.
“Building and strengthening institutional capacity is one of the most important tools for implementing gender equity policies. It is therefore apt that a project on strengthening human resource management is implemented side-by-side with gender mainstreaming. The Nigerian Immigration Service has embarked on a mission to increase the representation and the percentage of women in the Service, but the percentage of women has remained relatively stagnant for the past few decades.
Women constitute less than 26% of a total number of officers; however, the current Comptroller General has increased the representation of women in the top leadership positions to 50/50. The number of officers in the top leadership cadre from ACG-CGI are only about 33 including Assistant Comptroller Generals, Deputy Comptroller Generals and the Comptroller General of Immigration. Unfortunately, there is limited empirical research on how to increase the number of women in military or para-military agencies in Nigeria, although the problem is not only at NIS”, she added.
On his part, Acting Comptroller General of the Service Idris Isa Jere said the programme was conceived in 2019.
He said as part of ongoing reforms by NIS to modernize its workforce, it had put in place several policies on career progression and gender mainstreaming which he said were necessary to motivate the workforce.
According to him, “Out of eight directors in the service, five are headed by women. Out of eight zonal offices, from be are also headed by women while ten commands are headed by women. The service is working to ensure the promotion and deployment of personnel without giving room to gender imbalance”.
Dignitaries at the event included the Danish Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Sune Krogstrup, Director, Legal and Consular Services in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Akinremi Bolaji who represented the minister, among others.
The MoNIS project is funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development ICMPD in support of the Nigeria Immigration Service NIS.
Vanguard News Nigeria