…His dexterity,sterling leadership qualities, laudable feats at Seme border
By Sandra Chukwunyere
It was a moment of encomiums at the get-together organised for the out-going Comptroller of Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, Dominic Asogwa, Pcc, JP, as dignitaries and invited guests honoured him for his remarkable achievements at Seme border.
While numerous guests commended his enviable profile and sterling leadership qualities, others described him as a public officer known for honesty, as well as discipline during his stay in Seme Command.
One of his spectacular accomplishments was the moving of their Command operational base from Benin Republic to Baggage at Nigeria side of the border.
This unique initiative was taken to put NIS at Seme border back to its rightful position and to abrogate several years of incessant intimidation and harassment of not only the Immigration Officers but other agencies, migrants and visitors by touts, despite huge amount of money that exchanged hands.
Accordingly, it is important to state categorically that under his leadership, an arrest was made by his Officer of a Republic of Benin national (male), trying to smuggle light arms (handmade pistol ) to Nigeria.
More so, his effort to upgrade the Command’s status and support of the Comptroller General of Immigration, Muhammad Babandede, MFR, yielded positive result in attracting construction of a flag house and Hilux vehicle to enhance operational efficiency by his team.
Also, Comptroller Asogwa worked assiduously to ensure that the existing Comptroller’s residence abandoned for years received appropriate attention, as the structure is being reconstructed.
Thus, through his outstanding supervision, the Command has been rated as the most disciplined in terms of dress code, professional conduct and Officers dedication to official duty.
So, in line with the Presidential directive on ease of doing business, his Command successfully facilitated reasonable applicants for visa on Arrival (VOA) to MMIA for the collection of their visas, even as the Command also made average of 20 – 30 inquiries monthly.
He also recorded remarkable progress in the area of combating human smuggling along Seme Border axis, with a lot of interception, rescue of smuggled migrants, victims, as well as some arrests of suspected smugglers of 13 – 15 victims rescued monthly.
The Command also received a lot of Nigerians repatriated from other African countries like Ghana, Togo and Libya. Where some were reunited with their families in places like Edo, Delta, Abia and Ogun, while others were referred to relevant agencies for further action, depending on the reasons for their repatriation . Also foreigners who do not possess the necessary entry requirements were notified, , refused entry and eased out accordingly.
Comptroller Asogwa in his determination to address issues raised by travelers and commuters around Badagry axis on proliferation of checkpoints, championed the course that led to drastic reduction in checkpoints, on the order of Presidency. That stride earned him recommendation.
He also championed the synergy that now exists between Immigration Service and other border agencies, such as the Nigeria Customs Service, DSS, NDLEA and the Republic of Benin Police, in fostering border management and security for timely clearance of passengers.
During his tenure, the Command embarked on enlightenment of passengers on entry/departure requirements, with the aim of encouraging regular migration and discouraging irregular migration.
Among his numerous contributions to the upliftment of the Service was the role he played during the commissioning of the Seme – Krake joint Border post by both President Buhari and his Benin Republic counterpart President Talon, where he was chosen to lead both Presidents round the complex. Those present during the ceremony includes, International communities , representative of both ECOWAS and EU among other sister agencies.
His action towards challenging other agency duplicating and causing embarrassment to NIS in line with international best practice and Immigration Act is highly commendable.
His role in border management compelled various clearing agents to have unified identification tag in Seme border, a development which has never happened and was appraised by the Associations.
He also ensured the procurement of 30 KVA generator to solve immediate electricity problem at the barracks, to mention just a few.
*Friends, well wishers eulogized Comptroller Asogwa
To Mr Agosu Kayode, DC Operations, Nigerian Immigration Service, Seme Border on his own said, “Comptroller Asogwa has performed excellently by all standards. I have been in Seme border before him but he came and brought his leadership style to include doing what is right. If you do what is right, you don’t fear anything. You will be bold to face any challenge.
“Comptroller Asogwa has been doing what he knows that is right and I pray he continues to do it. He has laid legacies that Officers will have work on. He told us that we don’t have any job here, control of movement of person and we don’t have anything to do other than travel documents.
“These are the key things he has always been emphasizing. He has reconsidered some of his challenges, as he said, I cannot disassociate myself from this environment. My strategy of mandate. He has human faith to work as he was directed to do. He is a shrew manager of personnel.”
The Seme Customs Area Controller, (CAC)Comptroller Mohammed Uba, further described him as a good friend, kind hearted Officer of NIS, as well as a man who does not discriminate, nor consider tribal differences or issues while dealing with colleagues and stakeholders in the cause of his service to his fatherland.
According to the CAC, who was represented by Deputy Comptroller (DC) Wada, “Comptroller Asogwa is a kind of friend you will like to work with. He works in synergy with my Comptroller. He is a good friend of mine. He is hard working, honest and a complete gentleman.
On her own, Mrs. Olanma Ojukwu, a Nigerian Tourist Consultant ,Travel Agency, Cotonu, Benin Republic, while speaking at the event said, she worked in Benin travel agency for 20 years now.
She said, “With this man (Asogwa) except when you are not traveling rightly or your documents are not okay, if you are sure your documents are okay, just let us know and nobody will embarrass you. With Asoqwa arrival, quote me anywhere all had changed. I don’t know what it’s going to be when you leave but my prayer is that whoever is coming to take over will continue from where you stopped. Just know that the travel agency in Benin will miss you and we shall follow you wherever you go”.
In his response, Commander Tony Bassey, the Deputy Attachee, Nigerian Embassy, who represented the Nigerian Ambassador to Republic of Benin, Ambassador Emmanuel Kayode Oguntuase said,
”I am going to miss Asogwa because this man is a nice person. But thank God for technology, we can always talk.
For him to go to an office where serious policy issues beyond Seme border post, it means he is elevated. It means that he is a visionary leader. It is not easy to have people or leaders like this. Like when he came here for the first time, without vision he could not had achieved much”
”It is good to have vision and come with vision in a new place like this. You must have a vision and follow the vision. From the interviews and the speeches from people here, it means he accomplished that vision.”
”I still remember my first encounter with him in the first quarter of 2018 when our Ambassador invited him and other Officials and security agencies to our embassy in Cotonuo. That was my first encounter and interaction with him. Even from there, I know that this man is a visionary leader. The discussions we had, were all to make sure that he clamp down on illegalities at the border.
“I want to on behalf of the Ambassador appreciate you especially because of the smooth relationship we had particularly between the embassy, yourself and your unit. Particularly that interactions we had over the repatriation of over 300 Ogoni refugees that were living in Jibia. I remember that day when it happened. It was an Emergency, in November 2018. If my Comptroller, you will recall, I was the one that called you.”
Commander Bassey also presented a gift from his Boss to Comptroller Asogwa.
Mr. Lawrence Idowu, an Assistant Comptroller of Quarantine Service, Seme border, on his own noted that Asogwa did three things in the lives of the Officers he met and worked with over the years.
”Sir, you inculcated wisdom, respect and fear in the lives of officers. Continue with your good work, backward never forward ever.”
While speaking of Asogwa and his antecedents at the event, Hon. Gbenu Joseph, the Executive Chairman Badagry West, said that Asogwa contributed immensely to the development of Badagry.
He also added, ”The out-going Comptroller is not a boss but a leader. In his leadership style, he has achieved excellence. He doesn’t run from the truth. He is honest and cordial to his subordinates. Since he came to Seme Immigration Service, the system has changed for good unlike before.”
He also prayed that God takes him to the highest cadre of his career.
”I pray President Buhari should promote him to the highest level “.
On the secret to succeed on the job, the out-going Comptroller Dominic Asogwa said:
”I want all of you to honour the Almighty by requesting from Him the wisdom to discharge your daily duties. When I wake up in the morning any time, any day, God gives me the wisdom.
“This is my 31 years as an Immigration Officer, so if you kill me now you did not kill me on time. So the right thing must be done”.
Still talking on the efficacy of divine wisdom, Asogwa said: ”By the time I do that, no human being born of a woman can stop you. Because all my actions and thinking are being directed by that divine wisdom and everything I will be doing will be inline. It is not about God giving or helping you to solve a problem. No, it is about divine wisdom. Once He gives you that wisdom, that is all you need. The wisdom to know the right thing”.
Comptroller Asogwa thanked his senior colleague DCG Abiodun Hundeyin (Rtd) who contributed immensely to his success.
His words, “I joined the Immigration Service. When I came to Badagry I lived with him for over three months before I grudgingly decided to move away by force, he never wanted me to go.
“The Customs Area Controller of Seme Command, Comptroller Mohammed Uba, represented by DC Wada is a strategic person in my life and success”.
The event was attended by many stakeholders, including 1st citizen & Chairman of Badagry LCDA Hon. Joseph Gbenu
CIS DO Asogwa pcc JP
CIS GA Iraskep
CAC Mohammed Garba Uba
TA BASSEY DEPUTY DEFENCE ADVISER EMB. NIG REP DU BENIN
rep. NPF Border Parol Commander
rep. PLANT QUARANTINE
CHAIRMAN FAMS EMBASSY SUITES Alhaji Fatai Shokunbi REP AKRAN OF BADAGRY Chief Tunde G
Executive Secretary BACCIMA OLUFEMI OMOTOSHO and
TOWANU ABIODUN HUNDEYIN DCG (Rtd)