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Why Buhari Sacks NDLEA Chairman, Mustapha Abdallah

President Muhamma­du Buhari has ap­proved the removal of the Chairman of the National Drug Law En­forcement Agency (NDLEA), Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd).

He was appointed on Jan­uary 12, 2016 by the former Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Engr. Babachair Lawal, via a let­ter with reference number SGF.35/S.5/11/272.

In another letter dated January 7, 2021 and signed by the Secretary to the Federal Government, Boss Musta­pha, Abdallah was mandated to handover to the Secretary of the agency, Mr. Shadrach Haruna, on or before Janu­ary 10, 2021 (today).

Sunday Independent gathered that Haruna, who was in the United Kingdom during the notice, had to cut short his trip as he hurried­ly returned to Nigeria at the weekend.

Disquiet Over Hurried Recruit­ment

However, there is disquiet in the paramilitary agency as the sacked chairman em­barked on a massive recruit­ment, barely 24 hours after he got a letter to handover.

NDLEA spokesman, Dep­uty Commander of Narcotics (DCN) Jonah Achema, who announced this in a state­ment on Friday in Abuja urged successful candidates to visit the agency’s website www.ndlea.gov.org for the list adding that those shortlisted had also been contacted via E-mail and SMS.

According to him, the candidates had applied for different vacancies, some of which were invited for job competency test.

“The affected candidates, numbering 5, 000, are to ap­pear at the Agency’s Acad­emy, Citadel Counter-Nar­cotics Nigeria, (CCNN), Katton-Rikkos, Jos, Plateau State for the screening and documentation exercise be­tween January 10 and 23, 2021 at 0900 hours daily.

“The candidates are di­vided into four different groups for the screening, in adherence to the COVID-19 pandemic protocol.

“The order and schedule for the exercise according to the group into which the can­didates fall are also indicated. They are expected to arrive a day ahead of their screening period,” said Achema.

He added that successful candidates were expected to be issued letters of appoint­ment and documented im­mediately upon successful screening.

“Candidates are, there­fore, to report for the screen­ing exercise with their guar­antors’ forms, originals and duplicates of academic cre­dentials, birth certificate or age declaration and indigene certificates.

“They are also expected to come along with certificate of medical fitness from a government hospital as well as a pair of shorts, T-shirts, canvass and stockings,” the NDLEA spokesman said.

It’s A Sham, Unacceptable – Officers

However, concerned of­ficers of the NDLEA, who kicked against the recruit­ment exercise, equally com­mended President Buhari for his swift intervention in sacking Col. Abdallah follow­ing his dismal performance in the last five years.

In a letter addressed to the President at the weekend, the officers condemned the hasty recruitment and called for its cancellation.

“Sequel to the receipt of the handover letter, the em­battled outgoing Chairman, immediately ordered that let­ters be hurriedly dispatched to candidates to report to the NDLEA Academy in Jos for training on Monday January 11, 2021. This hasty move by Abdallah is mischievous and part of efforts to cover up the reckless misappropriation of the recruitment money released to him since 2019 as well as to thwart efforts at ex­posing the abnormalities that characterised the scandalous exercise.

“It was equally gathered that most of the candidates currently being shortlisted for the eleventh hour train­ing did not even apply for the job and sat for the entrance examination. This sad devel­opment did not only negate the principles of transparen­cy but geared towards deny­ing Nigerians equal opportu­nity in serving their country.

“We the concerned offi­cers hereby pass a vote of no confidence in the Abdal­lah-led recruitment exercise and passionately appeal to Mr. President to suspend the recruitment exercise to enable a forensic audit of the process in the interest of justice and fair play.

“Mr. President Sir, it stands to reason that the ur­gency with which Abdallah released the names of candi­dates only after he got a letter to handover for an exercise that he was fully mobilised financially since 2019 is be­deviled with sinister intent to advance his selfish interest to the detriment of national security.

“We hereby call for a com­prehensive probe into the recruitment process begin­ning with the payment of N60 million to Em-Plug ICT firm for creating an online portal that lasted for only two weeks. The Agency ICT department offered to create the online portal for a token, but was ignored by Abdallah.

“There was no publication in the newspapers for ICT firms to bid for the creation of the recruitment portal. As a result we want the entire awards of recruitment con­tracts that did not follow the due process properly inves­tigated. All successful candi­dates must be vetted and cer­tified to have applied online, sat for the examination and passed. Otherwise, a fresh exercise must be conducted under a new dispensation.”

Reason Why Buhari Sacks NDLEA Chairman, Mustapha Abdallah

Distortion Of Seniority Ranking

The officers are also ac­cusing Abdallah of distort­ing the seniority list in the agency.

According to them, “As a paramilitary organisation, seniority is sacrosanct but Abdallah has completely distorted the seniority list. Abdallah failed to conduct harmonisation and proper placement of officers rather, he promoted juniors who are sycophants over their seniors who dare to tell him the truth. This has to be corrected to re­store discipline in the agency.

“There are many vacan­cies in command appoint­ments that Abdallah refused to fill due to his administra­tive inaction. Every com­mand ought to have a Com­mander and two assistants but over half of the com­mand formations are hav­ing vacancies that Abdallah refused to fill. Again, many of the commanders have over stayed in a beat to the extent that their productivity is de­clining by the day yet he sees no reason to replace them.

“It is for the above and many other shortcomings that we are calling for a probe of Abdallah and the appoint­ment of a competent leader to lead the agency on the path of glory. We cannot afford the costly price of another wast­ed five years.

“Urgent steps must be taken to boost the morale of officers in reducing the esca­lating cases of drug traffick­ing and abuse in the country. This will ultimately address the growing drug challenges and improve the image of the country before our interna­tional partners.”

The concerned officers had earlier called on the President to investigate and prosecute Abdallah for the alleged diversion of N2.8 bil­lion commanders’ monthly allowances and the revoca­tion of the sale of the Chair­man’s official quarters in Ikoyi that he allegedly sold.

In a letter to the president by the concerned officers, of the agency signed by one Musa Ahmed Yusuf, the of­ficers accused the outgoing NDLEA boss of diverting N2.8 billion monthly oper­ational allowances for com­manders.

“Since 2016 that Abdallah took over, he stopped the pay­ment of monthly running cost to commanders. This has continued all through his tenure.

“The monthly allocation of the agency of about N48 million is used to service Abdallah’s personal inter­est. This has amounted to the sum of N2.8 billion in the past five years”, the petition alleged.

“How are the commands meeting their needs and how do you define corruption? Ab­dallah also sold the official quarters for the chairman of the agency located at George Street Ikoyi, Lagos.

“He also allowed a tele­communication service pro­vider to install a telecom sta­tion at the once vibrant Ikoyi office that is now a shadow of itself. The impunity of Abdal­lah must not go unpunished,” it further alleged.

The petition further called for the appointment of “a competent chairman ap­pointed to correct the many mistakes of Abdallah and take the agency to greater heights following the expi­ration of Abdallah’s tenure.

“We demand a complete investigation into the un­ending recruitment exer­cise by Abdallah even when money has been released to him since 2019. None of the procedures have followed due process. The entire ex­ercise must be conducted by a competent leader. This will ensure that Nigerians have a level playing ground in serv­ing their country.”

It also cited the refusal of the NDLEA leadership to promote staff as and when due in addition to his lack of attention to heightened drug abuse crisis in the country.

“Abdallah refused to re­lease our promotion arrears. This has dampened our mo­rale. The most painful aspect is the fact that our colleagues that retired in the last five years left service with lower ranks than they are entitled to because of Abdallah’s administrative callousness. This injustice is demoralis­ing to the entire workforce,” the group said.

The petition said a nation­al survey confirmed a mas­sive scale of Nigeria’s drug problem with no effort by Abdallah to reverse the ugly trend.

“According to the report, in 2017 just one year after Ab­dallah took over office, nearly 15% of the adult population in Nigeria (around 14.3 mil­lion people) reported a “con­siderable level” of use of psychoactive drug substanc­es. This is a rate much higher than the 2016 global average of 5.6% among adults.

“The survey was led by Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Cen­ter for Research and Infor­mation on Substance Abuse with technical support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and funding from the Euro­pean Union.

“Our airports, seaports and land borders are becom­ing increasingly porous by the day as Abdallah remains unperturbed.”

Global Gist Nigeria

Contact/Whatsapp No: +2348137451665, Twitter: @globalgistng1, Facebook: globalgistng, Email: [email protected]

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