Nigeria’s anti-drug trafficking officers again write scathing letter to President Buhari asking him to save NDLEA from total collapse and arrest chairman Abdallah Updated for 2021

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Updated: March 5, 2021

Mr President, we the concerned officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) are writing again requesting your urgent intervention in saving the Agency from total collapse. The Chairman/Chief Executive of the Agency, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah retired should be arrested and prosecuted along with the retired Director of Administration and Finance, Mshelia Yohanna-Sila who refused to vacate office since October 11, 2019.

NDLEA Chairman Abdallah
Embattled NDLEA Chairman Abdallah

This is a clarion call to free the NDLEA from the claws of bad leadership and bastardisation. The Abdallah management is deeply characterised by wide spread and flagrant corruption, disregard for officers welfare as well as administrative recklessness.

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Sit-tight Retired Director of Admin & Finance

Mr President, it is over 42 days now since the retirement of Mshelia Yohanna-Sila as Director of Administration and Finance but he has refused to hand over for corrupt and selfish reasons. His continued stay in office is criminal and against the Federal Civil Service regulations having attained the mandatory retirement age. This display of impunity endorsed by Abdallah is a bad precedence and a litmus test for the nation’s anti-corruption agencies. He is still a signatory to the Agency’s bank account, endorsing both financial documents and circulars. See attached a circular he signed on November 18, 2019. Despite his dismal failure, it is shocking that Mshelia is still holding on to the office as Director.

Promotion Matters

Under the draconic and wicked tenure of Abdallah, officers have been stagnated in one rank for over a decade. Rather than conduct a harmonisation exercise to properly place officers, Abdallah failed to do the needful. It is obvious even to the blind that he is only concerned about enriching himself at the detriment of officers. He mandated officers to write promotion examination in August, 2019 after numerous agitations. The results were again delayed to late November 2019 while the payment of the new rank was deferred to January 2020. This is very sad because he is never interested in officers welfare. Never in the history of the Agency have we been so unfortunate with a wicked and self-centred chairman. In his display of administrative ineptitude, Abdallah upgraded six (6) officers and gave special promotion to another five (5) officers under questionable circumstances. He equally manipulated two officers, Mike Kassa and Haladu Bappah Sa’ad who participated in the August promotion examination to again take part in a make-up examination to the next rank in November 2019. This is unacceptable because what is good for the goose is good for the gander. In fact, Abdallah has not only distorted the seniority list in the Agency but has shown that promotion is based on favouritism rather than hardwork and exceptional performance. Abdallah has no more respect in the eyes of officers as we unanimously pass a vote of no confidence in him. If upgrading and special promotion is good for a few chosen officers based on subjective considerations while not upgrade and harmonise all officers to their due grade level based on merit and equity? Most of us have just few years to retirement and we demand our due grade level that we have served in the Agency. Until justice is done, we will not relent in agitating for our rights.

Administrative Recklessness

Mr President, we totally reject the new ranking structure being foisted on us by Abdallah without seeking the approval of the board of the Agency. The new structure seeks to create division among officers by creating different rank for same grade levels. This is the time to boost the morale of officers and invest in policies that bind rather than divide us. The question that Abdallah must answer is what is the significance of this new ranking structure? Instead of concentrating on the improvement of welfare of officers, he is busy chasing shadows with a ridiculous ranking structure.

Corruption & Lack of Due Process In Recruitment

We are bold to declare that the ongoing recruitment by Abdallah has not followed due process. The ICT firm engaged by Abdallah never complied with constituted rules. Abdallah did not place advert in a national newspaper calling for firms to apply in line with the law. Rather, Em-Plug was unilaterally chosen for selfish and corrupt consideration. How many firms applied for the contract and what gave Em-Plug the edge over others if indeed there was due process? This and other questions Abdallah must answer. Unfortunately, Em-Plug disclosed that it was paid the sum of 45 million naira to create a portal that lasted only three weeks. This is ridiculous. We the concerned officers demand the immediate cancellation of the contract and investigation of that illegal payment because it is fraudulent and wrong application of public funds. This is due to disregard of the due process as there was no Advance Payment Guarantee as well as lack of certificate of completion of the Job before the payment was made. This is in addition to the fact the said amount is over-inflated.

Lack of Imprest to Commanders

Abdallah has instituted a culture of corruption by asking commanders to work without imprest since 2016. He has also embarked on fruitless and irrelevant foreign travels on monthly basis. A good example of his travelling spree was his defiance to the presidential order on foreign travel pending the conclusion of 2020 budget. Still, Abdallah travelled to Brazil to attend Interpol meeting in October while he refused to attend the same Interpol conference held in Abuja in August 2019 even when he was in town. This criminal act is enough for Abdallah to be sacked because how do you expect the commands to operate without corruption when you have refused to provide for them.

Rising cases of Drug Abuse in Nigeria

It is obvious that the rising cases of drug trafficking and abuse in the country is as a result of Abdallah’s corrupt tendencies and administrative emptiness. The 2018 national survey on drug use and health conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Nigeria put the annual prevalence of drug use at 14.4 percent while global annual prevalence is only 5.6 percent. This alone is enough reason for Abdallah to have resigned for lack of mitigating strategies and failure in office.

The Way Forward

We hereby demand for the following in moving the Agency on the right path.

Immediate arrest of the sit-tight retired director, Mshelia

Immediate sack of Abdallah and implementation of the recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Eradication Drug Abuse (PACEDA)

Immediate sack of directors who have spent over 15 years as directors, they have no ideas on moving the Agency forward.

A clinical financial audit of NDLEA account under Abdallah to expose his numerous and baseless foreign travels and reckless spending

Harmonisation and proper placement of staff to get the correct seniority list and immediate suspension of the new and funny ranking structures

Investigation of the ongoing recruitment while a new Chairman should be appointed to conduct a fair recruitment exercise on merit

Upward review of officer’s welfare package

Provision of operational funds and logistic support

The concerned officers of the Agency are optimistic that these measures will help to prevent the NDLEA from drifting into extinction.

Musa Ahmed Yusuf

For Concerned Officers

Cc ICPC

EFCC

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