The management of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said it has started addressing the grievances of some of workers, just as the organisation said it has succeeded in checking the spread of drugs use and trafficking in Nigeria.
Spokesman of the agency, Jona Achema, said the Chairman/Chief Executive, NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd), made presentations to the federal government recently on the parlous state of the agency and on the welfare of the staff.
He said Abdallah who inherited a staff strength of barely 4, 700 officers and men has secured federal government’s approval to boost the number to 10, 000 in the ongoing recruitment exercise being carried by the agency.
Achema, said the NDLEA boss was determined to put to rest the vexed issue of staff stagnation and poor welfare scheme, which has resulted in the low staff morale.
This has prompted the management of NDLEA to approve the promotion of six officers to the rank of Assistant Commander General of Narcotics, ACGN from the rank of Commander of Narcotics, CN and another five Deputy Commanders of Narcotics, DCN to Commanders of Narcotics.
According Abdallah, “The exercise is expected to spur the benefitting commanders to put in their best in the service of the agency and the nation because the reward for hard work is more work.
“This promotion has come as a result of outstanding performance, but it is an opportunity for you to further distinguish your selves.”
NDLEA spokesman, Achema said the promotion of the senior commanders came on the heels of the elevation of a total of 1, 311 staff, made up 1, 291 staff within the rank and file and 20 others converted to officer cadre.
According to him, only recently, the agency carried out a comprehensive promotion examination exercise to ensure that every member of staff that is due for promotion was not denied and that no fewer than 2, 000 of the agency’s personnel benefit from the pending promotion.
“Col. Abdallah has repeatedly assured the agency personnel that their welfare is integral to the repositioning of the agency and that all the outstanding benefits of the officers and men are well documented awaiting the release of funds by government.
“He has had to halt the indiscriminate transfer of personnel except for exigency of duty, knowing that there is need to make funds readily available for the payment of transfer allowances.
“The Chairman has equally tinkered with the structure of the agency for better performance. He has created two new Directorates of Establishment and Planning and that of Sea Port Operations, both headed by Assistant Commanders-General of Narcotics,” Achema explained.
He said during the current period, the agency also recorded huge success in fighting drug trafficking in the country, noting that the agency was able to put to an end the obnoxious act of putting drugs in innocent air passengers’ luggage, which would have resulted in the killing of some Nigerians in Saudi Arabia.
NDLEA has also started fighting against internal movement of drugs in the country so that the substances would not get to the consumers.
“Take Kano State for instance, where the NDLEA Command has brought the hitherto thriving illicit Tramadol and cough syrup with codeine market on its knees with a sustained crack down on warehouses and joints,” Achema said.
This year alone, NDLEA has arrested 64 suspected drug traffickers and carried out 54 seizures at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos in the past nine months and has recorded similar successes at other airports.
Acheme, said the success being recorded by the agency is not by chance but through outlined strategy and plan to fight against the trafficking and sale of drugs in Nigeria.
NDLEA said it has to take drastic measures because its records show that drug trafficking is on the rise; so also is the local consumption of hard drugs.
The agency also disclosed that some of those who monitor the activities of drug users and their behaviour, say that drug usage could be seen as an escape from hardship, seeking for euphoria and finding elixir for a mind that is troubled.
So despite the punitive measures introduced by government at different times to discourage drug trafficking, indications show that movement of drugs through the airports and in the states is on the rise, hence the new strategic fight against drugs by the agency.
Recently in Taraba State Command of the agency, in a recent sting operation apprehended 21 suspected suppliers of illicit drugs to the terrorist strong holds.
The Command seized 239 kilograms of drugs from the suspects.
Also in Osun State Command, the agency discovered and destroyed 2.4 hectares of Cannabis plantations located in a near-impossible terrain.
Achema, said similar success was being recorded in other states of the federation, noting that this is a new dawn in the fight against drugs.