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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.

BIG STORY

Buhari Unveils APC’s Roadmap ‘The Next Level’ Ahead Of 2019 Elections [READ HERE]

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Campaign for the 2019 presidential election formally opened, yesterday, with the two leading candidates, President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP unveiling their plans and at the same time, hitting at each other’s policies.

Buhari at the unveiling of his campaign at a well-attended launch in the presidential villa vowed to take the country to the next level against the background of what was claimed as 16 years of waste under the PDP.

He was immediately countered by Atiku who declared Buhari’s Next Level theme as a new level of propaganda, saying that the administration had failed in its three key promises to enhance security, employment, and anti-corruption.

Speaking on his mandate and quest for another four years in office, Buhari said: “The next four years will be quite significant for our country. Nigeria is faced with a choice to keep building a new Nigeria — making a break from its tainted past which favoured an opportunistic few.

“Our choices will shape us, our economic security and our future prosperity. Nigeria, more than ever before, needs a stable and people-focussed government to move the agenda for our country forward. Join us on this journey to the Next Level of a prosperous, strong and stable Nigeria!

See below full text of the APC Roadmap below:

Four years ago, we promised Nigerians real change – in what we do and how we do it. Nigerians sent a clear message in the last election, and our platform offered a new, ambitious plan for a secure, prosperous and corruption-free country.

We have worked hard to fulfil our promises – and while the road may have been difficult, over the last three and a half years, we have laid the foundations for a strong, stable and prosperous country for the majority of our people.

Foundational work is not often visible, neither is it glamorous – but it is vital to achieving the kind of country we desire. Judging by the prior depth of decay, deterioration and disrepair that Nigeria had sunken into, we are certain that these past few years have put us in good stead to trudge on the Next Level of building an even stronger nation for our people.

First things had to come first. We were a nation at war – but we delivered on our commitment to secure the territorial integrity of our nation in the face of a raging insurgency that devastated many parts of the North East.

We liberated 17 Local Government Areas from the grip of insurgency. Brokering and sustaining peace in the Niger Delta has also been crucial to stabilising the polity.
Despite the difficult circumstances presented by weak oil prices and reduced oil production, we delivered on our commitment to make public investments to spur economic growth, job creation, and broad-based prosperity.

Agriculture continues to expand our economic base, as do our investments in deficient infrastructure across the length and breadth of this nation. We implemented a responsible and transparent fiscal plan for the challenging economic times that saw us doing more even with lesser oil revenues.

Grand scale corruption perpetrated at the highest level of government is now a thing of the past, just as the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has made it more difficult for ministries, departments and agencies to exercise the unrestrained liberties that helped foster a climate conducive to corruption.

The nation’s wealth is now being invested in capital projects to expand infrastructure and connect people, goods and opportunities by rail, road and air. Also, the Federal Government supported state governments with bailouts that enabled them to pay workers on their payroll. We took an unprecedented step towards creating a fairer and more equitable society by implementing Africa’s biggest social investment programme.

Through the National Social Investment Programme, we are providing direct support to over 13 million Nigerians who need it by giving relief and assistance to unemployed youth, our children, the weak and vulnerable as well as small and medium businesses.
But even as we lay the foundation for a stable and prosperous nation, we acknowledge there is still much to do.

The Next Levelof effort focuses on job creation across various sectors. From an enlargement of the N-Power programme to investing in technology and creative sector jobs to agriculture and revolutionising access to credit for entrepreneurs and artisans, there is scope for over 15 million new jobs.

The march away from a mono-economy must continue with our industrialisation plan coming to fore. With specific plans underway to exploit the comparative advantage of the geopolitical zones and different states by developing 6 Industrial Parks and 109 Special Production and Processing Centres (SPPCs) across each senatorial district, our incremental move away from oil dependence is assured.

In addition, our development of the Special Economic Zones will quickly concretise our Made in Nigeria for Export (MINE) plan. To sustain food production and value addition, our mechanisation policy for agriculture will make tractors and processors easily accessible and available for farmers across Nigeria.

We will continue a wide scale training policy, prioritising technology to reach the demography of young people within the productive sector on a massive scale even as we create jobs and growth within our economy.

We believe that our people who are still in poverty have a direct way out and up through our expanded National Social Investment Programme.

We believe we can implement the painstaking and comprehensive policy and work we have done to bring an end to the perennial conflict between farmers and herders – a conflict which is heightened by a struggle for land, water and pasture and the effects of climate change and every now and then, opportunistic and cynical manipulation by political actors.

We are implementing a blend of measures that ensures that justice, order, modernisation and new economic paradigms emerge. Perhaps our biggest ambition yet is the overhaul of our education sector.

Every child counts – and simply, whatever it takes to prepare our teachers, curriculum and classrooms to attain the right educational goals that grow our country, will be done.

We will remodel 10,000 schools every year and retrain our teachers to impart science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics using coding, animation, robotics to re-interpret our curriculum. We know that to succeed, moral integrity and conscience must continue to form the dominant character of our nation and its leadership.
Corruption is an existential threat to Nigeria. Despite the gains we have made in closing the gates, we know that there is still much ground to cover to stop systemic corruption.

We are committed to deepening the work we started this first term such that the nation’s assets and resources continue to be organised and utilised to do good for the common man. The next four years will be quite significant for our country. Nigeria is faced with a choice to keep building a new Nigeria- making a break from its tainted past which favoured an opportunistic few.

Our choices will shape us – our economic security and our future prosperity. Nigeria, more than ever before, needs a stable and people-focused government to move the agenda for our country forward.

Join us on this journey to the Next Level of a prosperous, strong and stable Nigeria! Nigerians, we are all going higher!

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BIG STORY

I Married Atiku For His Integrity, I Know Him — Titi Abubakar

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Hajiya Titi Atiku Abubakar, wife of the Presidential Candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar has said that her husband is a man of integrity, stressing that she married him for his honesty and patriotism.

Mrs Abubakar disclosed while receiving a campaign group, Women for Atiku, that no one knew Atiku better than she does, having been married to him for 47 years.

She stressed that contrary to unverified and vague allegation of corruption by political detractors, Atiku was actually a man whose integrity, honesty and sincerity earned him her love

“I usually got confuse whenever I read the false allegations of corruption being spread by mischief makers against my husband in the media.

“Most times i ask myself if they were referring to my husband whom I have been married to for 47 years or a different person.

“Their descriptions only befits the opposite of Atiku Abubakar, because he is not corrupt as alleged,” Titi Said.

She further stressed that since she married Atiku 47 years ago, she had never found him wanting in honesty, sincerity, integrity and patriotism to his fatherland.

She narrated how they were brought together by Divine Destiny.

“I was on my way back to Nigeria from Benin Republic where I went to visit my aunt at the idioroko boarder and was accosted by ofifcers of the Customs Service.

They had demanded that I pay duty for a pair of brocade material which was a gift from my aunt, an argument ensued between us and i told them to have the brocade material for a keep because i couldn’t comprehend why i should pay duty for a pair of brocade.

“Suddenly an officer by name Atiku Abubakar who heard our argument summoned the officers to come along with me to his office.

“He was the head of the command at the time. After listening to both sides, Atiku demanded for the duty charge, dipped his hand into his pocket and paid the duty and handed me the receipt smiling and saying that ‘I will pay him back’.

“As the head of the command he could have simply commanded them to let me go if he chose to, but his patriotism to fatherland would never allow him do so, and that singular act swept me off my feet and i eventually fell in love,” she said.

The National Coordinator of Women for Atiku Mrs Blessing Egbara thanked Mrs Titi Abubakar for the warm reception accorded to her group.

She pledged that the group would continue to mobilise women across every ward to vote for Atiku Abubakar in 2019.

Egbara said that the National leadership and the 36 state coordinators of the group visited to inform her that with the commencement of the campaign, the group is set to penetrate the nook and crannies of Nigeria to mobilise the desired support toward 2019 Atiku victory.

Egbara said that the group would embark on voters mobilisation and education adding that the group would also mobilise all registered voters to collect their Permanent Voters Cards PVCs

(NAN)

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BIG STORY

Police Tortured Me, Hid Me In A Toilet From Seeing Falana —- Evans

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Alleged billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans, has maintained his claim that he was tortured by the Police to make what they term his confessional statement.

He countered the claim by the Police that his statement was obtained under a fair atmosphere, and that the statement could have been taken in the presence of a lawyer if Evans had hired one.

At the Friday proceedings in his trial before Justice Adedayo Akintoye at the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere, Evans said human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), at the time, came to the Police station to see him, but the Police thwarted the meeting by locking him (Evans) up in a toilet.

Evans said immediately after he was arrested by the Police in 2017, his wife, Uchenna, contacted the human rights lawyer, but upon the lawyer’s visit to the Police station, he was told that he (Evans) had been taken out for investigation.

Evans claimed to have heard, from inside the toilet where he was allegedly locked up, how Falana and the Lagos Coordinator of the Inspector-General of Police Response Team, one CSP Phillip, exchanged pleasantries upon the lawyer’s arrival at Phillip’s office.

He said after being told that he had been taken out for investigation, Falana warned the Police not to come back and claim that the suspect had been shot while trying to escape.

Led in evidence by his lawyer, Mr. Olanrewaju Ajanaku, Evans, who was all tears, insisted that he was forced to put his signature to an already prepared confessional statement by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad who had allegedly murdered several suspects in his presence “in Saddam Hussein style.”

He said, “Immediately after my arrest, my wife called Mr. Femi Falana and he came to SARS.

“But CSP Phillip told two armed policemen to hide me inside the office toilet and to tell the lawyer that I was not around.

“I heard Phillip greet him, ‘Good afternoon, sir,’ and Mr. Falana said he wanted to see me. CSP Phillip told Mr. Falana that I had been taken out for investigation.

“Mr. Falana warned him that he did not want to hear that I had been taken for investigation only to be shot dead.

“He said he didn’t want to hear that I was trying to escape and then I was shot dead. He told them that if I had committed any offence, I should be charged to court.”

Under cross-examination by the prosecuting counsel for the state, Mr. Y.G. Oshoala, Evans maintained that his statement was not voluntarily made.

Justice Akintoye adjourned further proceedings in the case till December 10.

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