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