Muhammed Babandede is distinguished Abusite and an astute and disciplined paramilitary officer who is the current Comptroller General (CG) of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
Muhammed Babandede was born in Jigawa State, Nigeria in 1963. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Islamic Studies, and a master’s degree in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice at the Ahmadu Bello University, ABU Zaria.
He served as Assistant Comptroller General ACG passport at the Immigration Headquarters and was the Deputy Comptroller General (DCG) of NIS, Operations & Passports, a position he attained in January 2014.
President Muhammadu Buhari approved his appointment as the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) with effect from May 15, 2016. His appointment came after President Mohammadu Buhari sacked the former Immigration boss Martin Abeshi.
Babandede has an award of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, MFR, in 2014. He is currently the longest service NIS top officer.
Muhammed Babandede Vision for NIS
Shortly after his appointment, Muhammed Babandede addressed the press at his maiden meeting at the NIS headquarters in Abuja where he outlined his vision and agenda for the immigration service.
First, he promised to be honest and transparent to all, and he immediately demonstrated that by admitting that he was conscious of racketeering from International passport applicants and travelers at various borders/ check points in the country and would set up an anti-corruption squad to check-mate it.
“My vision is to make Nigeria Immigration Service a modern, effective and efficient service manned by well trained and motivated workforce and my mission is to make more leaders out of the officers.” he declared
In a nutshell, he was embarking on a mission to returning The Nigeria Immigration Service to the path of honor, integrity, discipline, and unalloyed commitment to national security that the service was known for.
Muhammad Babandede’s scorecard
Nigerians cannot forget the botched recruitment exercise by the NIS in 2015 that claimed the lives of 15 applicants, under his predecessor.
Mr. Ben Okezie, writing in his “Security File” column in TheSun, 2018 said: “Successful leaders are like goldfish that cannot be hidden. Mohammad Babandede has exhibited an uncommon trait and qualities of a great leader. One with Sterling qualities made of stainer stuff.
“An astute and a disciplined leader; such is needed for recommendation and appointment to sensitive ailing institutions in the country.”
No wonder the President finds joy in appending his signature on each of his innovative and visionary memos, while the supervising minister of internal Affairs is always ready to offer quality advice and a helping hand.
On his assumption, Mohammad Babandede immediately reorganized the passport system by decentralizing the passport issuing system.
It is on record that when Nigerians in the Diaspora were going through tough situations before their passports are renewed, he came to their rescue.
He reformed the Visa on Arrival (VoA) project to remove the human contact – it is web-based and became fully operational in 2019. This project which is the toast of the world community has already attracted global attention.
Mohammad Babandede upgraded most of the institution’s gadgets and pieces of equipment to the latest technology.
The neglect of personnel welfare and promotion is a major factor that stalls efficiency among uniformed institutions. Apart from addressing the issue of staff stagnation, thousands of officers and men of the Nigerian immigration service have been elevated to their new ranks.
The rusty curriculum used in their training institutions has been completely reversed and updated to meet international standards.
More so, management and leadership training courses aimed at development have been extended to all the Comptrollers and above with the junior and middle cadre inclusive.
Among the notable reforms introduced by Mohammad Babandede are the Visa reforms which are in line with global best practice.
The biometric visa initiative has commenced in all major Missions across the globe and is currently deployed at all the major airports in the country.
In addition to the relative ease of procuring it now, we have effected some improvements that allow holders to verify the genuineness of the document. This is part of efforts to eliminate forgery and counterfeiting.
The use of our borders by transborder armed robbers and drug smugglers has also been efficiently tacked by this distinguished abusite. We must admit that this is a problem that can never go away completely.
He vowed to publicly disgrace any “criminals in uniform” assisting criminals to abuse our borders. It is on record that he has kept to his words.
Also under his watch, President Mohammadu Buhari issued his approval for a new polycarbonate Passport that has over 25 new features.
The new e-passport booklet has 10 years validity lifespan. This visionary innovation of Babandede has been applauded by Nigerians both at home and abroad.
The above list of achievements and many others too numerous to mention, recorded by Mohammad Babandede, a distinguished one of us has further confirmed and affirmed our slogan that “we (Abusites) are naturally ahead“.