Chinedu Eze

Many workers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have been expressing their frustration over poor remuneration, lack of promotions, non-payment of medical and other allowances and poor working environment. The workers have therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and save the agency before it is destroyed by the present management.

In the petition written by the workers of the agency, calling on Buhari to intervene urgently in the affairs of the agency, they said that the president “must urgently probe the Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah(rtd) and save the country from the tragic woes of irredeemable drug abuse and trafficking.”

They also alleged that “Abdallah has not added any value to the agency since he took over two years ago for lack of administrative know-how”

Some of the workers told THISDAY that if nothing is done by the federal government, some of the workers will start sabotaging the work of the agency, “and you know that the drug traffickers are always looking for a way and eager to have collaborators from the agency.”

The workers, who spoke to THISDAY, said inducements of money from drug couriers have become more tempting under the precarious working conditions of NDLEA personnel where the future is uncertain and retirement has become bleak.
Considering the sensitivity of the jobs they do, some of the workers told THISDAY that it was ironical that the management of the agency and the federal government are not paying critical attention to the welfare of the workers who remain the wall against the proliferation of drugs in the Nigerian society.

As a paramilitary organisation, the workers know that the Act that established NDLEA cannot allow them to go on strike or establish a union through which they can pressure the management, but the frustration that has beclouded the daily lives of the workers can make them sabotage the agency and that will be dangerous for the Nigerian society.

THISDAY also learnt that there is no provision made for the workers who die in active service and in the last two years over 60 workers of the agency had died in sudden and unexpected manner.
Nothing more can support the alleged lack of provision for the deceased staff than the circular recently circulated to all the staff of the agency soliciting for free donation for the families of those who died in the active service.

The circular with reference number, NDLEA/ADM/400/2/v/124 issued on July 24, 2017 and titled: Re: Voluntary Donation for the Families of Our Officers who Died in Active Service, showed the management soliciting money from the workers to pay the families that lost their dear ones who died in active service as NDLEA staff and the number of the deceased underlisted in the circular were 14.

An official of the agency told THISDAY that the management of NDLEA may inadvertently be empowering corruption through the poor welfare of workers, noting that in terms of promotion their contemporaries in other paramilitary organisation are promoted more regularly with the attendant increase in their salaries to reflect the new promotion.

“You empower corruption when you don’t treat the workers well. Those are going to retire very soon know that they are getting nothing from the agency so they are ready to cut deals with drug couriers. Promotion has stagnated for years. The Act that established NDLEA should be amended so that the Senate will confirm the Chairman of the agency. I am sure that if our boss was examined by the Senate they would not have allowed him to be appointed,” an aggrieved staff member told THISDAY.