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The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, retired Colonel Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah, and other Directors in the Agency have been accused financial recklessness and withholding entitlements of dead officers.

In a petition written by an officer of the Agency, Musa Ahmed Yusuf, Abdallah was accused of financial recklessness and making the once vibrant Agency to become comatose.

The petition was addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari and copied to Abdallah, Senate Committee on Drugs and Financial Crimes, House Committee on Drugs and Financial Crimes, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, National Security Adviser, Femi Falana Chambers and Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.

Yusuf, who said he was writing on behalf of other NDLEA officers, called for the sack of Abdallah, alleging that the chairman spends millions per trip.

He explained that the only way for the Agency to regain its lost glory was for the President to immediately suspend Abdallah as Chairman and the compulsory retirement of the seven Directors.

He also called for a clinical probe of the financial recklessness of Abdallah by not paying imprest to commanders and the unjustifiable foreign travels.

His words: “We also want appointment of a more senior, confident and visionary person to lead the Agency and correct the career stagnation and immediate harmonization, provision of life insurance policy, medical care, and better remuneration.”

Yusuf disclosed that since Abdallah’s assumption of office two years ago, 58 officers have died under his watch.

“The families of these heroes are constantly in pains of neglect as their entitlements are yet to be paid,” alleged Yusuf.

Yusuf noted: “We call for the sack of the chairman and the directors. The Agency under him has continuously retrogressed due to administrative callousness and inaction. Nothing has changed since we appealed to you to save the Agency from decadence in November 2017. Every NDLEA officer is three ranks below their normal placement. We request that our ranks be fully restored while dead officers, also cheated be posthumously honoured.

“Other Agencies of government did promotion in December 2017 to enable qualified officers to enjoy their rightful cadre in the New Year. Our fear that Abdallah will take no action was again confirmed when he sent the old nominal roll for 2018 salary. The implication is that NDLEA officers will continue to collect the same old salary this New Year.”

The petitioner further claimed that since Abdallah’s appointment, he only gave commanders a paltry imprest of N130,000 to run their commands once in February 2016.

He asked: “How then is the monthly allocation to the Agency spent? Over 90% is illegally diverted into Abdallah’s frivolous foreign travels. The disbursement record of the Agency’s income under him will open up a can of worms. The non-provision of running fund to officers is the worst form of inducement to corruption. Why is the law hard on an officer that collects N10, 000 bribe but soft on the boss that stagnates his career?”

According to Yusuf, about 60 officers had died from frustration and criminal neglect of their welfare.

He stressed that their entitlements were yet to be paid by Abdallah.

He said: “The souls of late officers and their neglected families are yearning for succour. Important issues like life insurance cover and intensive medical care for officers in view of the hazardous nature of fighting drug cartels have been neglected by Abdallah.”

He insisted that drug control efforts in the country had plummeted, demanding swift intervention.

He said: “Abdallah spends a minimum of N11m per trip. Abdallah has left major cracks in the partnership walls between the Agency and international partners. Some of the key partners like the United States Government and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) among others are seemingly not comfortable with the state of affairs in the NDLEA.

“Drug barons used to be scared because of incessant arrests and seizures of their drugs in Nigeria but under Abdallah, they are having the best of times. Abdallah’s olive branch to drug cartels has sent wrong signals to international partners. The Special Enforcement Team that used to discover clandestine laboratories and large shipments of drugs in the past has become comatose since Abdallah refused to provide operational funds.”

Yusuf said Abdallah has encouraged corruption by neglecting the welfare of both living and late officers.

He claimed that the sum of N50,000 was only given to families of three officers: Onwumere Nicholas, Peter Ebun and Abdulrahman Musa, who were recently shot dead in Kogi State on October 13, 2017 by gunmen, has exposed his chairman’s insensitivity to the plight of officers.

Yusuf and his other colleagues are also not happy that Abdallah has relocated the head office from Lagos to Abuja.

Yusuf said: “Abdallah abandoned the Lagos headquarters in Ikoyi for an awful accommodation at the Federal Secretariat Abuja. His claim of relocating the national headquarters to Abuja is a charade. The once vibrant Ikoyi office of the Agency in Lagos is a shadow of itself as Abdallah refused to pay light bills and buy fuel to power the generator. The Ikoyi office has exceeded 24 months of power outage under Abdallah. This has further complicated the bitterness and hopelessness of officers.”

Reacting to the several allegations, the NDLEA spokesman, Jonah Achema, denied Yusuf being an officer of NDLEA.

Achema described him as a pathological liar.

This was also as he disclosed that the same Yusuf had earlier accused Abdallah of embezzling N528 million being part of the Agency’s monthly allocation.

Achema said: “The Chairman has made no pretext about the lamentable financial condition of the Agency, which he has gone out of his way to enlighten both the government and public.

“The Chairman is so prudent that he often denies himself some entitlements in the face of the Agency’s financial realities. It is laughable to accuse anybody of siphoning money under the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System, platform where all government allocations and expenditures are done online real-time, with all transactions permanently recorded.

“This is verifiable from the Federal Ministries of Finance and Budget and National Planning.”

Achema explained that at the time of Abdallah assumption to office, he inherited an outstanding liability of well over N300 million.

Abdallah upon assumption of office carried out forensic analysis of the career progression of the officers and men of the Agency.

Achema stated: “Knowing that promotion has been a vexed issue in the Agency over the years, he has ensured a meticulous promotion process, which kick started since June and will be completed before the end of this year. It is only natural that once members of staff are promoted, transfers would follow since there will be need for proper staff placement.

“Abdallah has not made any appointments at the director cadre. He therefore cannot be accused of putting square pegs in round holes. The Chairman has continued with the management staff he met upon assumption of duties.

“None of the Directors he met on ground has reached age 60 or has put in 35 years of service, which are the necessary conditions for disengagement from service. It must be noted that only Directors were moved to Abuja to reduce the overhead cost of having to be shuttling between Lagos and Abuja being the seat of government to carry out their statutory duties. Only the director cadre has been asked to sacrifice for the Agency by relocating to Abuja. No member of staff has been forced to relocate to Abuja except those who indicated interest.

“It is uncharitable for anyone to accuse NDLEA of spending N50, 000 as welfare package for the slain officer and men in Kogi State Command. The N50, 000 was a personal contribution by a Director who visited the scene of the incident.

“He gave the sum to the State Commander to assist him in running around since the last time any money was given to the Agency was May 2017. It must also be pointed out that for officers to donate to the families of their deceased colleagues is only a demonstration of espirit-de-corps and a tradition and culture of most organizations. It is heartless to attribute the deaths of officers and resignations to frustrations in the Agency. We all know there is no human condition that provides immunity to death.”

Achema noted that the NDLEA has ensured that all international travels were approved by the appropriate authorities.

He said the Agency only attended statutory meetings which the country was mandated to attend.

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8 Nigerian ATM Robbers Sentenced To Death In UAE

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Eight Nigerians, all men, have been sentenced to death in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates(UAE) for a string of robberies at money exchanges and cash machines(ATMs) across the emirate in December 2016.

The ninth Nigerian, found guilty for possession of stolen money was sentenced to six months imprisonment.

He will be deported after serving his prison term.

The Gulf News reported that the Nigerian denied the charge against him and said that one of the accused’s brothers asked him to transfer Dh60,000 to an account in Nigeria.

All the convicted Nigerians were not identified by both the Gulf News and Khaleej Times, all local newspapers, which reported the trial.

A total of 20 suspects were initially held for attacking security guards in four violent attacks at ATMs and money exchanges across Sharjah in late 2016. Out of 20 suspects, nine were convicted.

Some of the accused confessed to their crimes while others denied the charges levelled against them.

The verdict was handed down by Judge Majid Al Muhairi of Sharjah Criminal Court on Wednesday.

The eight-member gang attacked security trucks and entered establishments by force and threatened and assaulted staff and members of the public with bladed weapons in a spate of robberies, three of which were carried out on the same day on December 18, 2016.

The gang — who were all in the UAE on visit visas — were said to be highly organised and plotted a string of orchestrated attacks to ambush security trucks that were transporting money boxes to and from ATMs, and at least one money exchange in Sharjah.

The first robbery took place at a Dubai Commercial Bank ATM on King Abdul Aziz Street where Dh340,000 was stolen, then two days later they attacked an ATM in Al Safeer Mall in Al Nahda fleeing with Dh700,000, and an ATM in Muweilah where they stole Dh710,000. A fourth attack at a money exchange office near National Paints was foiled by police.

The gang of 20 was arrested in record time but police confirmed that only a portion of the stolen money — almost Dh1.8 million — had been recovered, as the gang members had divided the money among themselves and transferred it to their home country.

Suspects were taken into custody in cooperation with police in Dubai, Ajman and Fujairah.

The gang committed the heists at the busiest times of day when streets were crowded, which added to the confusion and enabled them to escape, said police.

In each robbery the assailants struck quickly before police could arrive, the attackers however could not evade security cameras and police were able to recognise the suspects through surveillance footage captured at the exchange house in the mall.

Video footage showed the suspects attacking security guards, making off with cash, and in one of the robberies slashing the hands of a security guard with a knife before running away with money boxes.

Police believe the suspects had monitored and tracked the security trucks used to transport money for a period of time before launching the attacks took place.

A prosecutor told Gulf News on Thursday that as per the law, a group of people who threaten the life of others while committing robbery are subject to the death sentence, however an appeal is expected to be launched and the sentences could get downgraded to life imprisonment.

The trial appeared unconnected with the arrest of five Nigerians in March this year, who robbed a Bureau de Change operator of Dh2.3 million (N225.4 million) in Sharjai, Dubai.

The suspects were identified as Chimuanya Emmanuel Ozoh, Benjamin Nwachukwu Ajah, Kingsley Ikenna Ngoka, Tochukwu Leonard Alisi and Chile Micah Ndunagu.

The five Nigerians reportedly barged into the BDC on March 20 and smashed the glass barrier between the customers and the staff, stole the money in multiple currencies and fled.

Two employees at the exchange were injured as they resisted the robbers. One of them managed to notify the police. The Sharjah Police coordinated with forces from Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman to nab the suspects from four emirates within 48 hours after the robbery was committed.

A top police official said the suspects came to the UAE on visit visas on March 18.

(NAN)

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Sanwo-Olu Unveils Inauguration Committee Ahead Of Swearing-In

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Lagos State Governor-elect, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Thursday unveiled an inauguration committee that will usher in his administration on May 29th this year.
Mr Sanwo-Olu, who was in the company of his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, presented the committee members at his campaign office on Awolowo Road in Ikoyi.

A statement signed by media officer to the Governor-elect, Gboyega Akosile said the committee is chaired by the Director-General of Babajide Sanwo-Olu Independent Campaign Group (ICG), Mr Tayo Ayinde, while the Lagos State APC Women Leader, Honourable Mrs. Jumoke Okoya-Thomas and Mr. George Osifeko will serve as Vice Chairmen respectively and Mrs. Titi Oshodi will act as secretary.

While unveiling the inauguration team, the governor-elect said the committee is mandated with a responsibility of organizing a smooth programmes that will usher in his administration. The committee is also billed to reach out to Nigerians in corporate and political sectors, stakeholders and various interest groups locally and internationally to grace the swearing-in.

Sanwo-Olu urged members of the committee to co-operate and work diligently in achieving their mandate. He also tasked the team members to streamline their activities with the plans of the outgoing government and work with security agencies in order to have smooth transition.

Mr Ayinde assured the governor-elect and his deputy of the committee’s readiness to organize a seamless swearing-in programme.

He pledged the committee members’ readiness to work assiduously towards achieving an inauguration ceremony that will become a reference point in annals of political events in Nigeria.

”I want to assure your Excellencies that sitting before you are highly experienced men and women who have contributed tremendously to various industries. I can attest to their individual capacity to deliver on the terms of reference of a smooth inauguration ceremony.” Ayinde State.

Other members of the committee include:
Mrs. Obiageli Onu
Mrs. Funke Bucknor Obruthe
Alhaji Abdullahi Enilolobo
Mr. Kamal Salau-Bashua
Mr. Olatunji Disu
Mr. Kappo Emmanuel
Mr. Bolaji Durojaiye
Mrs. Olabopo Odiachi
Mr. Bimbo Onabanjo
Mr. Ajala Rasaq
Mrs. Taiwo Abiodun
Ayiri Oladunmoye
Mr. Gboyega Akosile
Mr. Lanre Adeyinka
Mr. Sesan Daini

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Atiku Should Produce His Academic Credentials, I’m Far More Qualified – Buhari Tells Tribunal

Gbemileke Ajayi

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President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to produce his academic credentials before the Presidential Election Tribunal.

Buhari said this in his response to allegations contained in the petition by Atiku and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, before the tribunal.

Buhari, in a response filed on April 16 by a team of lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said that the claim by Atiku and the PDP that he was not qualified to stand for election to the office of the President was a lie.

Buhari told the Tribunal that he was far more qualified to stand for the election than Atiku.

The President insisted that it was Atiku who was not qualified for the election.

President Buhari insisted that he never “at any time, provided any false information in Form CF00] submitted to the lst respondent, either in 2014 or 2018.

“The affidavit of compliance to the 2019 Form CF001 was correct in every material particular.

“In filling Form CF001 in 2014 and 2019, respondent was not oblivious of the constitutional qualifications stipulated in Section 131 of the Constitution and interpreted in Section 318 of the same Constitution.

“Petitioners themselves are also not oblivious of the fact that respondent possesses far more than the constitutional threshold expected for a candidate contesting for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The respondent avers that he is far more qualified, both constitutionally and educationally, to contest and occupy the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria than the 1st petitioner (Atiku); and that in terms of educational qualifications, trainings and courses attended, both within and outside Nigeria, he is head and shoulder above the 1st petitioner in terms of acquisition of knowledge, certificates, laurels, medals, and experience.

“Respondent states further that it is the 1st petitioner, who is not qualified to contest the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and challenges the educational credentials and certificates of the 1st petitioner.

“1st petitioner is hereby given notice to produce and tender his educational certificates, indicating the schools attended by him, with dates.”

The President gave his educational resume as: “Elementary School, Daura and Maid’adua (1948 – 1952), Middle School, Katsina (1953-1956, Katsina Provincial Secondary School (now Government College, Katsina (1956-1961).”

Buhari condemned the entire petition filed by the PDP and Atiku, and told the Tribunal that they are more about pre-election issues, which the Court of Appeal, sitting as a tribunal lacked jurisdiction.

He also argued that the petitioners told lies against themselves in the petition and made conflicting claims which the tribunal cannot grant.

For instance, Buhari noted that while the petitioners claimed to have won the last presidential election and also won elections in many states in the south-south and south-eastern part of the country, they also urged the court to nullify the election and order a fresh presidential election.

Burari argued that by virtue of Section of 137of the Electoral Act, petitioners cannot question the results of elections in states where they claim to have won and still retain themselves as petitioners.

Buhari faulted the petitioners’ claim that the election was marred by corrupt practices and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

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