Rumbles at NDLEA Threaten Fight against Drug Trafficking

NDLEA Chairman, retired Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah

Chinedu Eze

Frustrated by lack of promotions and transfer, some workers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have started agitation against the management of the agency, which may threaten the fight against illicit drugs in the country.

In the past three years, the workers of the agency have mounted a campaign against the failure of management of the NDLEA to promote and also transfer them, as many of them have not been promoted for about 12 years.

The workers also said that some of them have served at one location for 10 to 12 years, agitating that many of the personnel serving in “arid areas” like Maiduguri, Kebbi and Yobe for that long want to leave to other parts of the country.

THISDAY learnt that this has frustrated the workers to the extent that it has started affecting their dedication to duty and many are, “tempted to connive with drug suspects because their disenchantment with their work has made them gullible.”

It was, however, gathered that recently, workers at the agency had taken promotional exams and some of them had been transferred. But some workers who spoke to THISDAY alleged lack of transparency in the whole exercise and a seeming unwillingness by the NDLEA management to actually effect the promotion.

They argued it was to calm restive nerves that the promotion exam was allowed to take place after it was postponed many times, adding that so much money was expended in conducting the exams throughout the country.

THISDAY learnt that some of the officers recently transferred by the Chairman, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd) have threatened to ignore the posting if the management failed to pay them transfer allowance.

According to Musa Ahmed Yusuf, who spoke on behalf of concerned officers, the persistent and endless agitations of officers over administrative witch-hunt and sundry allegations of corruption were all rooted in the faulty management foundation.

“The current face-off between the officers and the management has to do with a national posting by Abdallah without the necessary transfer allowance. When officers die on active duty there is no money for burial expenses, when officers are transferred, there is no money; yet, there is money every month for irrelevant foreign travels by Abdallah.

“This is not only insensitive and an abuse of public office but also an outright leadership failure. Where will officers get money to proceed on such transfer?
“The issues are simple and straight forward but Abdallah is trying to make them appear insurmountable due to lack of interest in staff welfare. First is the issue of lack of promotion for over 10 years.

“After series of agitations by officers over the criminal neglect of their welfare and career stagnation, Abdallah in a circular dated April 3, 2018 with reference number NDLEA/ALS/ADM/100/V/90, admitted his failure and inaction. He also promised to correct his mistakes,” he said.

But speaking on behalf of the management, a senior official of the agency admitted that there are two key factors responsible for the agitation which he listed to include lack of promotion of NDLEA personnel over the years and lack of transfer, as workers have stayed in one place for several years.

“The truth of the matter is that some people are aggrieved for some reasons. One is promotion. For a long time, officers have not been promoted but this is not deliberate. The truth is that past management of the agency did not take promotion of the staff as priority.

“So promotion accumulated and when the new management came it has to study the situation well and it needed to establish vacancies from the Head of Service before it effects the promotion. This is because if it promotes people on his own there may not be money to pay them.

“The process of promotion has been completed. The promotion exam, which has taken place, is being marked now and whoever passed the exam will be promoted. I however, admit that some people have been in one rank for eight to 12 years; but you don’t hold the new management that just came in responsible.

“The new management inherited this problem. All of us are affected in this but I know the effort the management is making in order to address the problem; that is why some of us do not go about complaining,” the official said.