The Nigeria Immigration Service has suspended the posting of five of its female personnel, Priscilla Irabor, Binti Attabor, Catherine Bakura, Blessing Udida and Ockiya Eneni, who partook in the viral #BopDaddyChallenge promoted by rapper, Folarin ‘Falz’ Falana, on social media.
This latest development comes after Falz and some concerned Nigerians took to social media to plead for leniency for the officers, as well as condemn the harsh treatment meted out to them.
In a letter addressed to the Comptroller General of the NIS, Muhammed Babandede, Falz had maintained that the reposting of the officers was punitive.
The letter read in part, “Recent news surrounding five female officers of yours who came under fire for featuring in a fun video online has particularly caught my attention. The said ladies were pictured changing from their official uniforms to casual outfits while my music was playing in the background.
“Immoral behaviour’, ‘sabotage’ and ‘any other act unbecoming of a public officer’ were the offences levelled against them as they were alleged to have caused a lot of embarrassment to the NIS.
“Consequently I have also learnt that the service has decided to post these officers to remote areas of the country as a punitive measure. The senior staff posting dated May 12, 2020, stated that the posting be ‘at no cost to the service’ and (should) be done on or before May 19, 2020.
“As a terribly concerned citizen, I’m writing to you the second time as my initial attempt to reach you via text/WhatsApp was met with no response.”
Reacting to the public outcry, the NIS, via its Twitter handle on Friday said the matter was still being investigated and the Comptroller General had directed that the posting order should be suspended. The NIS post reads “The attention of the Comptroller General Muhammad Babandede, MFR, has been drawn to some trending matters on some social media platforms regarding the deployment of some of our personnel to some formations across the country.
“It is important to note that staff deployment remains a vital practice of regimented organisations such as ours and should be seen as such. As an agency, we maintain zero tolerance to any matters bordering on offences against discipline among members of our workforce, irrespective of gender.
“We have high premium for staff development and indeed encourage personal efforts but that must be within the confines of our rules and regulations. The matter involving the personnel in question is still being investigated and therefore, the Comptroller General has directed that the earlier posting order be put on hold pending the conclusion of the investigation.”
In an interview, Falz said, “I think it’s unfair for them to even be punished in the first place. Assessing the punishment would be to even accept that they’ve committed some sort of offence. I personally still don’t think they’ve committed any offence.
“I’ve taken time to look at the public service rules which guide the Nigerian Immigration Service and the due processes.
“I have reached out to the ladies and I believe they were picked on because they are women.”
The four winners of the #BopDaddyChallenge, which attracted participation from celebs and fans alike, got N250,000 each.