The expulsion of the chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah, was authorised by President Muhamma-du Buhari (rtd).
On 12 January 2016, he was appointed by the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Engr. Via a letter with reference number SGF.35/S.5/11/272, Babachair Lawal.
In another letter signed by the Secretary to the Federal Government, Boss Mustapha, dated January 7, 2021, Abdallah was asked to hand over to the Agency’s Secretary, Mr. Shadrach Haruna, on or before January 10, 2021 (today).
Haruna, who was in the United Kingdom during the notice, had to cut short his trip on Sunday Independent as he hurriedly returned on the weekend to Nigeria.
Disquiet over hurried recruitment
In the paramilitary department, however, there is disquiet as the sacked chairman em-barked on a major recruiting, barely 24 hours after he received a handover note.
NDLEA spokesman, Deputy Commander of Narcotics (DCN) Jonah Achema, who announced this in a statement in Abuja on Friday, urged successful candidates to visit the www.ndlea.gov.org website of the agency for the list, adding that those shortlisted were also contacted via e-mail and SMS.
According to him, the applicants had applied for various positions, some of whom had been invited to take the work competence exam.
The 5, 000 candidates affected are to ap-pear at the Agency’s Academy, Citadel Counter-Narcotics Nigeria, (CCNN), Katton-Rikkos, Jos, Plateau State for the screening and documentation exercise at 0900 hours daily between 10 and 23 January 2021.’
In line with the COVID-19 pandemic protocol, applicants are classified into four separate classes for screening.
Also suggested are the order and timetable for the exercise according to the category into which the can-didates fall. A day ahead of their screening time, they are supposed to arrive, said Achema.
He added that it was anticipated that qualified applicants would be given letters of appointment and immediately reported upon successful screening.
Therefore, applicants are to register for the screening exercise with the forms, originals and duplicates of academic qualifications, birth certificates or age declarations and indigenous certificates of their guarantors.
“They are also expected to come with a government hospital medical fitness certificate as well as a pair of shorts, T-shirts, canvas and stockings,” said the NDLEA spokesperson.
It’s A Sham, Unacceptable-Officers
Nevertheless, the NDLEA officers concerned, who kicked against the recruitment exercise, also recommended President Buhari for his swift intervention in sacking Col. Abdallah in the last five years following his dismal results.
The officers condemned the hasty recruitment in a letter addressed to the President at the weekend and called for its termination.
The em-battled outgoing Chairman, following receipt of the handover letter, immediately ordered letters to be hurriedly sent to candidates to report to the NDLEA Academy in Jos for training on Monday 11 January 2021. Abdallah’s hasty move is mischievous and part of efforts to cover up the reckless misappropriation of the recruitment money released to him since 2019 and to thwart attempts to reveal the anomalies that characterised the scandalous exercise.
It was also concluded that most of the applicants already shortlisted for the eleventh hour of training did not even apply for the position and sat for the entrance test.’ This sad development not only negated the values of accountability, but also focused on denying equal opportunities for Nigerians to represent their country.
We hereby pass a vote of no faith in the Abdallah-led recruitment exercise and passionately appeal to Mr. President to suspend the recruitment exercise in order to allow the process to be forensically audited in the interest of justice and fair play.
“Mr., Mr. President Sir, it is fair that the urgency with which Abdallah only published the names of candi-dates after he received a letter to handover for an exercise that he has been completely financially mobilised since 2019 is deviled with sinister intent to advance his selfish interest to the detriment of national security.
We call for a thorough probe into the recruitment process beginning with the payment to Em-Plug ICT company of N60 million for the construction of an online portal that lasted for just two weeks. The ICT Department of the Agency offered to establish an online token site, but Abdallah ignored it.
For ICT businesses, there was no publication in the newspapers to compete for the development of the recruitment platform. As a consequence, we want all the recruitment contract awards that have not been adequately invested in the due process. To have applied online, sat for the examination, and passed, all successful candi-dates must be vetted and certified. Otherwise, under a new dispensation, a new exercise must be conducted.
Ranking Distortion Of Seniority
The officers have also accused Abdallah of distorting the agency’s seniority list.
As a paramilitary group, seniority is sacrosanct, according to them, but Abdallah has totally skewed the list of seniority. Instead, Abdallah refused to perform harmonisation and proper positioning of officers, encouraging juniors who are sycophants over their seniors who dare to tell him the truth. In order to re-store discipline in the agency, this has to be corrected.
“In command appointments, there are several vacancies that Abdallah declined to fill because of his administrative inaction. Each command should have a commander and two assistants, but more than half of the command organisations have vacancies that Abdallah refused to fill. Again, to the extent that their productivity is decreasing by the day, many of the commanders have stayed over in a beat, yet he sees no reason to replace them.
“We call for a probe of Abdallah and the appointment of a competent leader to lead the agency on the path of glory for the above and many other deficiencies. We can not afford the expensive price of another five years of waste.
“Urgent steps need to be taken to increase the morale of officers in reducing the country’s esca-lating cases of drug trafficking and abuse. In the end, this will address the growing drug challenges and improve the country’s image in front of our international partners.
The officers concerned had previously called on the President to investigate and prosecute Abdallah for the alleged diversion of monthly allowances from N2.8 billion commanders and the revocation of the sale of the official quarters of the Chairman in Ikoyi that he allegedly sold.
In a letter from the agency signed by one Musa Ahmed Yusuf to the president of the officers concerned, the officers accused the outgoing NDLEA boss of diverting N2.8 billion monthly operating allowances to commanders.
The charging of monthly operating costs to commanders has been stopped after Abdallah took over in 2016. All through his term, this has continued.
The Agency’s monthly allocation of approximately N48 million is used to support the personal interests of Abdallah. In the past five years, this has amounted to N2,8 billion, the petition claimed.
How do the orders fulfil their criteria and how do you describe corruption? The official quarters were also sold by Abdallah to the chairman of the George Street Ikoyi, Lagos Department.
He also allowed a provider of telecommunication services to instal a telecommunication station in the once vibrant Ikoyi office, which is now a shadow of itself. Abdallah’s impunity must not go unpunished,” it further alleged.
Furthermore, the petition called for the appointment of “a competent chairman to correct the many errors of Abdallah and take the agency to greater heights after the expiration of the tenure of Abdallah.”
We demand a thorough investigation into Abdallah’s endless recruiting exercise, even though money has been released to him since 2019. None of the processes were in compliance with due process. A capable leader must perform the entire exercise. This will ensure that in serving their country, Nigerians have a level playing field.
In addition to his lack of attention to the increased substance addiction epidemic in the country, it also cited the NDLEA leadership’s failure to promote employees as and when due.
Abdallah declined to release our arrears for promotion. Our mo-rale was dampened by this. The most frustrating part is the fact that because of Abdallah’s administrative callousness, our colleagues who retired in the last five years left service with lower ranks than they are entitled to. The whole workforce is demoralised by this injustice,” the group said.
The petition said a national survey reported a large scale of the drug issue in Nigeria without Abdallah attempting to reverse the ugly pattern.
According to the study, almost 15 percent of the adult population in Nigeria (around 14.3 million people) registered a “considerable level” of use of psychoactive drug substances in 2017, just one year after Abdallah took office. This is a pace far higher than the 5.6 percent global average for adults in 2016.
The survey was led by the National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria (NBS) and the Center for Substance Abuse Research and Knowledge with technical support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Euro-Pean Union funding.
“With Abdallah remaining undisturbed, our airports, seaports and land borders are becoming increasingly porous by the day.”
# President Buhari Sacks NDLEA Chairman Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah
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