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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

Why Rescheduled Presidential, National Assembly Elections May Not Hold On Saturday — Group

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A civil society organisation, Citizens for Change and Advancement (CCA), has warned that the rescheduled 2019 general elections might not hold on the new date of Saturday, February 23 due to poor preparations and massive infighting within the top leadership of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

CCA policy director, Maxwell Abaji in a statement yesterday, said that some sensitive electoral materials in some states are still in INEC custody, and not in Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) vaults as being claimed by the electoral body.

“Election materials in states like Taraba, Cross River, Ebonyi and Benue are not in CBN vaults contrary to claims by the electoral umpire. Even INEC leadership does not know the exact locations of some materials in some states as at 4pm Tuesday. It is more worrisome that these materials are yet to be audited and verified by any independent stakeholder,” Abaji claimed.

The group further alleged that the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and the commission’s head of Operations and Logistics, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu are allegedly keeping logistics details away from other national commissioners due to infighting and poor working relationships among INEC leadership.

“With information at our disposal, the duo of the INEC chairman and Ibeanu are refusing to work with other national commissioners on the issue of logistics with regards to this Saturday’s elections; keeping the challenges confronting the elections to themselves like they did previously, hence the sudden postponement of last Saturday.

“With the current developments at the commission and if allowed unchecked, unknown forces could capitalise on it to undermine the process, wh,ich could warrant the need to shift the elections, again,” he said.

CCA, therefore, warned INEC to put its house in order, saying that Nigerians will not accept any further excuses for the elections not to hold as scheduled on Saturday.”

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BIG STORY

Atiku Did Not Offer Adamawa REC $1million Bribe —- INEC [See Tweet]

Peter Okunoren

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The Independent National Electoral Commission has reacted to the allegation that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, offered the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Adamawa State, Kashim Gaidam, $1m and a house in Dubai.

INEC condemned the allegation in a tweet on Monday.

The tweet was in reaction to a social media post which alleged that the former vice president had compromised the elections in Adamawa, his home state.

It read, “Breaking News: I rejected Atiku’s $1m bribe plus a house in Dubai- Adamawa REC”.

But INEC condemned the post, saying, “The Adamawa INEC REC completely dissociates himself from the allegation that he had an offer of $1m and a house in Dubai as no offer whatsoever was ever made to him by anyone.”

This comes two days after the electoral body postponed the general election, which was initially scheduled to commence on Saturday last week, by one week.

INEC has on Monday, reopened campaigns for political parties before the elections begin on Saturday. Campaigns are expected to end “midnight of Thursday, 21 February 2019”.

Read INEC’s tweet below;

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Buhari In Emergency Meeting With Service Chiefs, IGP, Some Northern Governors

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President Muhammadu Buhari is currently meeting with service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu

The meeting, which started around 11am, is holding at the President’s office in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Some governors from the northern part of the country are present in the emergency meeting, The Nation reports.

Governors at the meeting include those of Adamawa State, Jibrilla Bindow, Borno State, Kashim Shettima, and Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai.

Also at the meeting were the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazzau.

The meeting may not be unconnected with the security situation in the country

Recall that no fewer than 66 people were recently reported killed in Kajuru, Kaduna State.

Details later…

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