It seems the higher authorities have allowed the cries of frustrated Gambia Immigration Department staff to fall on deaf ears. As a result, Director General Buba Sagnia (Zeal) has turned into a villain, bullying his subordinates. Sagnia even has the temerity to brag about his ethnicity. He was fired, humiliated and abused by the Jammeh government. He became so frustrated and never thought of bouncing back at the Immigration Department. Buba was hired to serve and become loyal to the country and her people. Every one of us praised the Coalition government for bringing back the man we once “trusted, honoured and respected.” Between me and Allah, the Buba we knew was not the one who addressed us during morning parades. He had become a complete changed man and even had the confidence to say the “Coalition government will fail purely because of tribalism.” Buba’s ungratefulness to the Barrow government has gone over the roof.
Buba Sagnia is not exercising leadership by uniting and encouraging team spirit. He has made it clear that his New Mission is “to seek revenge on all those who testified against me at the NIA when Yahya Jammeh was around.” He said these people never thought he would ever return to the Immigration Department as Director General. Sagnia has grown feathers as evidenced by his threats to seek redress in courts if he is fired from office for whatever reason.
Due to Buba’s excesses, I will not spare him. All he deserves is exposure because his goal is to enrich himself, divide and rule us before completely destroying the very foundation our Immigration Department is built on. Let Buba Sagnia swear to the Quran that he did not authorise us to print 400 passport books on May 5th, 2018. Of these, only 35 were allocated to officers and civilians while the remaining 365 passport books went to Buba and his cronies. It has been alleged that Buba has been collecting D3, 500 per passport book instead of the normal D1,000 fees. This is unjust and uncalled for, which is why truthful officers have become frustrated and concerned about the way the immigration department is being run. How are we supposed to function as a team when our director treats people differently? A handful of immigration officers who pledge loyalty to Buba have become more important than others who want to go by the books.
Under Buba Sagnia leadership, bad precedent is gaining grounds. Like any security institution, the Immigration Department also has cadres or chain of command that must be respected. But the new trend is that only Buba loyalists matter, earn respect and promotion. At a senior management briefing on May 7th, the most senior Commissioner Hulay Jallow suggested the immigration department to decentralize resource mobilization within various regions instead of concentrating everything within Banjul Headquarters. This discussion followed the just concluded lavish spending of D200,000 on May Day sports events. This money came from the immigration Welfare funds.
This brilliant suggestion, which was endorsed by a majority, angered Lamin Jatta (a junior commissioner). We all expected Jatta to put across his point in a respectful manner. He didn’t do that because he rained insults on Hulay, asking her to “shut the F**k up.” Lamin said Commissioner Hulay “should not bring such pettiness into the briefing room.” Under the leadership of Buba Sagnia, there is no respect for the chain of command or seniority. Junior officers who have been empowered by him can trample on their seniors without any disciplinary actions being taken as possible consequences.
With all these recent scandals of corruption at the Gambia Immigration Department, one would expect Sagnia and loyalists to learn lessons and agree on corruption and malpractice cease-fire and focus on restoring public confidence and image building of our department. But the Immigration Department is getting more and more soak into corruption. Buba Sagnia’s goal is to bring the Immigration Department on its knees ahead of his October 2018 retirement. DG Sagnia is running the immigration as a family enterprise, posting trusted disciples at the airports, seaports, Amdalai, Farafenni and all the other border posts within the country who bring him envelopes on a daily or monthly basis.
Mr Sagnia is also threatening one of his senior officers for blowing the whistle on his (Sagnia’s) “incompetence and opposition to the reform processes” President Barrow wants all institutions to go through. This led to Buba being investigated by SIS. The director has since been picking bones with the said officer to the extent of banning him from entering his office. The said senior officer is now so frustrated with Buba Sagnia’s unbearable intimidations. We now know that SIS has finished its investigation and has since referred the case to the Interior Ministry for advice. But we understand the Interior Ministry is trying to throw the case under the table. We are out of patience and waiting to see what happens next. It’s imperative for all peace loving people to stay on course and follow this case, making sure that justice is served, the only way we can defeat corruption, incompetence and replace them with sanity.
Gambia immigration department