A KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY THE SENATE PRESIDENT, CHIEF ANYIM PIUS ANYIM, GCON, ON THE OCCASION OF THE RETREAT FOR SENIOR OFFICERS OF THE NIGERIA IMMIGRATION SERVICE ON THURSDAY, 31ST JANUARY, 2002 AT THE ECOWAS SECRETARIAT, ASOKORO-ABUJA
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation,
The Head of Service of the Federation,
The Honorable Minister of Internal Affairs,
The Honourable Minister of State, Internal Affairs,
The Comptroller General of Nigeria Prisons Service;
The Comptroller – General of Nigeria Customs Service,
The Comptroller – General of Nigeria Immigration Service,
Gentlemen of the Press,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. It is my honour and pleasure to welcome you all to this Retreat for Senior Immigration Officers. Specifically, I will, like to welcome our knowledgeable and distinguished resource person whose in-depth knowledge on professionalism in Nigeria Immigration Service will unequivocally be imparted to the retreat participants.
2. Let me begin by congratulating the organisers of this Retreat for their efforts and sacrifice in making it a reality. I have no doubt in my mind that the Retreat will provide ample opportunity for all participants to rub minds and share experiences and ideas that would be beneficial to the Service and the nation. This gathering will surely offer you the unique opportunity to look inwards and more closely at the activities of your Service and then chart a course that would not only promote intra-service relationship but make you relevant in national development efforts.
3. Distinguished officers, ladies and gentlemen, it would be recalled that this Administration came into power two and a half years ago, and right from its inception it has been emphasising and highlighting, among others, your expected role under the current democratic dispensation, professional output, professional code of conduct and approved moral behaviour in and out of office. This is because of its determination to change our ways of doing things which will form the basis of a renewed faith in our institutions and government.
4. On your professional code of conduct and approved moral behaviour in and out office, this Administration expects high ethical standards from officers and men of the Nigeria Immigration Service. This the Administration equally expects from all other arms of government and Public Service. In fact, we have worked and put a lot of efforts in this direction in the past two and a half years. It is in pursuance of this objective of ethical revival that the National Assembly passed the Anti-Corruption Bill which subsequently became an Act during the early period of this Administration. It is also in pursuance of this objective that the Honorable members of the Federal Executive Council and Permanent Secretaries gathered under the leadership of the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, ChiefOlusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, at Kuru in Plateau State between 23rd and 25th February, 2001 to discuss and review the terms. of code of conduct of government and public servants. The Kuru Retreat gave rise to the now popular “Kuru Declaration” signed by the participants and in which they stated, among others, that:
“We shall abide by the terms of code of conduct which we all have signed as expression of our commitment to the crusade against corruption and working closely with
all relevant agencies such as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Public Complaints Commission”
(paragraph 8 of the Kuru Declaration).
5. From the above Declaration, it is obvious that the present Administration is determined to make our professional code of conduct and approved moral behaviour conform with its ethical slogan of “It IS NOT GOING TO BE BUSINESS AS USUAL”. This Retreat, according to the Service, is being organised partly with this objective in view to enable, the officers and men of the Nigeria Immigration Service fall in line or conform with the new professional code of conduct and approved moral behaviour. In fact, you cannot but conform bearing in mind the role of your Service in national security, nation building, national development, protection and development of our nascent democracy. This Retreat is, therefore, partly aimed at re-orientating our ethical attitude to conform with “The Kuru Declaration”. I therefore, expect this Retreat to produce:
(I) Officers who will be loyal, dedicated and think of what they can do to contribute to the development of our great country; Officers who, while on duty, will be cheerful and courteous to investors, visitors and tourists, and yet remain firm;
(in) Officers who will realize that admitting one illegal or prohibited alien is illicit and inimical to the progress of the country;
(iv) Officers who will show the light for others to follow or emulate in the attainment and obedience of the new professional code of conduct and approved moral behaviour;
(v)Officers who will lead the anti-corruption campaign and ensure their subordinates’ compliance; and
(vi) Come up with a lot more other policies that will change positively your ethics, your sense of responsibility, dedication to duty and patriotism – all with the aim of redeeming the image of this country and your Service.
6. As we are beginning to see Immigration Officers who will be loyal, dedicated and who while performing their duties, will emphasize the ethical values of responsibility, legitimacy, fairness, efficiency and effectiveness, diligence, accountability and integrity, I wish to re-state government’s determination to continue funding your Service adequately so as to enable you procure modern tools and equipment necessary for your efficient and effective performance. It will also continue to give necessary incentives to officers and men of the Service in the course of performing their statutory duties.
7. Furthermore, your Service must justify reforms being introduced by government to improve your performance. You must not relent in evolving regular training and re-training programmes as well as workshops and conferences for your officers and men. This is in view of the prominent role your Service plays in the social, economic and political development of the country. This explains the huge investment of financial and human resources in the Service.
8. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Head of Service of the Federation, Honorable Minister of Internal Affairs, Honourable Minister of State, Internal Affairs, Comptrollers – General of Prisons, Customs and Immigration Services, Retreat Participants, Gentlemen of the Press, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my honour and pleasure, at this juncture, to declare this Retreat open. I wish you successful deliberations. Thank you for your kind attention and God bless.