SPEECH BY THE MINISTER OF INTERIOR, OGBENI RAUF AREGBESOLA, AT THE LAUNCHING OF THE NIGERIA IMMIGRATION SERVICE (NIS) CODE OF CONDUCT AND ETHICS DOCUMENTAND UNVEILING OF THE NIS ELECTRONIC DATA MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (EDMS), HELD AT THE NIS HEADQUARTERS, ABUJA, ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 10, 2021
ETHICAL REVOLUTION AT NISIN AN ELECTRONIC AGE
It is my great pleasure to be at this important occasion to perform two very important tasks. We are here for the launch of the Code of Conduct and Ethics Document for the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS). We are also unveiling the NIS Electronic Data Management Systems (EDMS).
This review and presentation of Code of Conduct and Ethics is not only timely but quite necessary, especially for the Service whose mandate demands that its Officers and Men regularly display the highest level of discipline, diligence, promptness, vigilance and transparency in operations and activities.
As the gatekeeper of the nation, NIS cannot but regularly showcase the cherished virtues of integrity, courtesy, sound morality and uncommon transparency in its official conduct. The mirror of the largest black nation of the world which the NIS represents, must not only be crystal clear at all times but must be attractive, courteous, engaging and pleasant.
This will demand that all the Officers and Men acquaint themselves with their expected roles and responsibilities and be guided by the expectedprinciples and standards of behaviours in the discharge of their duties.
The essence of setting code of conduct and ethics for an agency such as NIS, therefore, is to ensure that actions, dispositions and behaviours of the workforce conform significantly with the laid down rules of engagement. The code of conduct and ethics for the workforce of the NIS should therefore, encapsulate the unambiguous benchmarks upon which ethical behaviours, values and actions shall be weighed to ensuring compliance to the laid down processes and procedures.
A code of conduct in a professional environment such as the NIS, should constantly speak to the need to always display sound judgement in the face of ethical and/or operational dilemmas. Put it simply, this code of conduct and ethics document we are launching today is expected to constantly put huge obligation on members of the workforce to take responsibility for their actions and inactions.
But let me make it clear that staff of the NIS or any public servant for that matter is under three integrated moral and civic obligations. The first and the most fundamental, a citizen is required to be patriotic and of exemplary moral conduct in all their ways. This will include being disposed to hard work, chivalry, obedience to the laws of the land, loving our neighbours and being public spirited, among others.
The second and distinct is the code of conduct laid down for their official duties, the purpose for which we are gathered here today. It is not as difficult to separate and recognise official code of conduct since they are, for most part, codified in terms of employment, general order and financial order of government and other direct instructions and requirements as may be laid down from time to time, based on exegesis.
The third and inseparable from the first and second obligations is their private conduct. The private conduct interacts with the official conduct in a fine tapestry of cause and effect in a mutually reinforcing relationship.
Their private life affects their official conduct while the official conduct largely determines their private life.
Therefore, such things as who their friends are, who they love, what private relationships they forge, what private businesses they engage in, which clubs and associations they belong to, which neighbourhood they live in, what intellectual activities they engage in, what bars they frequent and what personal peccadillos and idiosyncrasies they indulge in must conform with and should not undermine their office.
I must not fail to mention two monumental areas of ethical challenge facing the NIS which greatly impinge on its raison d’etre.
The first is in passport administration.
There is no denying the fact that Nigerians have continued to express their dissatisfaction with obtaining and renewing Nigerian passports (for since when I cannot even remember) and how they feel underserved. Racketeering, overcharging and subversion of the laid down rules and regulations continue to plague the passport administration process and only few people still believe that we can ever get it right.
The second is in border management. Allegations are rife that NIS officers still make improper solicitations at border posts in ways that compromise border integrity.
These two ethical challenges are the test
of the agency’s integrity and I want to assure us all of the determination of the Federal Government, Ministry of Interior and the leadership of NIS to adequately address and solve them.
For us at the Ministry, therefore, we expect to see that the adoption and implementation of this document will bring about strong integrity culture among the NIS workforce, facilitate effective and efficient service delivery and promote harmonious working relationship among the Rank and File. Beyond this, we expect to see increased public trust and confidence in your operations and service delivery activities and above all, a much more dignified migration management agency in Nigeria.
The Electronic Data Management Systems (EDMS) is following a long list of digital transformation taking place at the NIS. Not too long ago, NIS activated the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) which enabled the agency to coordinate movement of persons at the four airport borders and upload information on missing and stolen passports to INTERPOL.
The Ministry has also reached an appreciable level in the e-border programme with Huawei that will require the installation of surveillance equipment. In March, the data management centre where electronic surveillance is coordinated was commissioned. In the same month, the temporary passport was lunched.
The automation of its processes and system has therefore become inevitable and I am happy we have reached this monumental milestone in the annals of the service.
With the introduction of Electronic Data Management Systems (EDMS) facility in the operations of the NIS, we are assured that paperwork bureaucracy and unnecessary waste of man hour in moving bulky files from one table to the other will be done away with.
It is also gratifying that speed for effective and efficient service delivery shall be highly improved while the skill sets of the workforce expected to be greatly upgraded.
For these giant strides and more, first and foremost, I will like to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for the unquantifiable assistance and support given to the Ministry and her agencies, including the NIS, for the progress made since the inception of this administration.
I will also like to commend the Controller General of the NIS for his tireless efforts, innovationand creativity in the support for, belief in and spearheading the current reform aimed at positioning the service as a foremost agency for service delivery in the 21st Century. Through him I am thanking all the officers and men of the service who continue to make sacrifice and serve with patriotic zeal at the NIS.
I thank also all representatives of agencies here for their invaluable support and for coming to grace this occasion.
I therefore, launch this publication and commend it to the reading pleasure and hearty implementation of Officers and Men of the NIS in their official and private conducts.
I thank you all for your kind attention.
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola
Federal Ministry of Interior