Sir: We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently probe the chairman/chief executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retired) to save the country from the tragic woes of irredeemable drug abuse and trafficking. Abdallah who retired from the Nigerian army has left no one in doubt that he lacks the strategic foresight to lead the agency.
Under Abdallah, over 60 officers have died in a short space of two years out of frustration and extreme despair. NDLEA has witnessed a high rate of voluntary retirement by officers under Abdallah’s dictatorship. Officers are deeply frustrated with his leadership; over lack of promotion, poor welfare package, and horrible working conditions. In spite of a large number of officers who have died in the past two years, Abdallah did not see the justification for a life insurance scheme to cushion the hardship of officers and their family members.
That three officers – Onwumere Nicholas, Peter Ebun and Abdulrahman Musa were recently shot dead in Kogi State on October 13, by gunmen who made away with their rifles reflects the hazardous and pathetic condition under which an NDLEA officers operate.
The greatest disservice to any workforce is lack of promotion. NDLEA today is a house of indiscipline as irregular and questionable promotions have made junior officers senior to their superiors. Most officers have stagnated in one rank for over 10 years without any justifiable reason. Officers that were due for promotion in 2009 were made to write promotion examination in 2013 and the promotion released in 2014. He was quoted as saying that promotion is not a right but a privilege and that promotion is not on his agenda.
Officers who have been cheated by his callous policies have become helpless especially those with a few years more in service. As they remain stagnated in one rank, their salaries, standard of living and pension contribution all have remain stunted over the years.
In the history of the NDLEA, drug barons have not had a better time than now. In fact, they are having a field day producing and selling drugs to the detriment of the country. Abdallah has not taken steps to checkmate the activities of drug barons.
This nonchalant attitude towards bringing drug barons to book is affecting the cordial working relationship between the agency and international collaborators like the United States government, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Unlike in the past, these collaborators were conspicuously missing at the 2017 World Drug Day commemoration in Abuja. Under Abdallah, statistics of arrests and seizures have drastically gone down due to his lukewarm posture towards the drug war. There is serious pressure already as NDLEA facilities across the country cannot accommodate the large number of drug-dependent persons seeking rehabilitation.
Musa Ahmed Yusuf,
For Concerned NDLEA Officers,