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NDLEA officers kick against workers recruitment by sacked chairmen

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Crisis may be brewing at the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency over the ongoing recruitment of workers into the organisation as some senior officials have kicked against the process.

They alleged that it was a ploy by the outgoing Chairman of the agency, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd), to cover up some financial fraud.

Already, President Muhammadu Buhari has reportedly approved the removal of the NDLEA boss and expected to hand over on or before January 10, 2021.

The aggrieved officers in a petition urged the President to suspend the recruitment, describing it as mischievous and that it was meant to cover up “reckless misappropriation” of funds.

The petition read in part, “Sequel to the receipt of the handover letter, the embattled outgoing chairman immediately ordered that letters be hurriedly dispatched to candidates to report to the NDLEA Academy in Jos for training on Monday January 11, 2021.

“This hasty move by Abdallah is mischievous and part of efforts to cover up the reckless misappropriation of the recruitment money released to him since 2019 as well as to thwart efforts at exposing the abnormalities that characterised the scandalous exercise.

“It was equally gathered that most of the candidates currently being shortlisted for the eleventh hour training did not even apply for the job and sat for the entrance examination. This sad development did not only negate the principles of transparency but geared towards denying Nigerians equal opportunity in serving their country.

“We the concerned officers hereby pass a vote of no confidence in the Abdallah-led recruitment exercise and passionately appeal to Mr. President to suspend the recruitment exercise to enable a forensic audit of the process in the interest of justice and fair play.”

Even as they accused Abdallah of hurriedly releasing names of candidates only after he got a letter to hand over, they called for a probe into the recruitment exercise.

They stated, “We hereby call for a comprehensive probe into the recruitment process beginning with the payment of N60 million to EmPlug ICT firm for creating an online portal that lasted for only two weeks.

“There was no publication in the newspapers for ICT firms to bid for the creation of the recruitment portal. As a result we want the entire awards of recruitment con­tracts that did not follow the due process properly investigated. All successful candi­dates must be vetted and certified to have applied online, sat for the examination and passed. Otherwise, a fresh exercise must be conducted under a new dispensation.”

The NDLEA spokesman, Jonah Achema, Deputy Commander of Narcotics, had in a statement on Friday in Abuja urged successful candidates to visit the agency’s website for the list, adding that those shortlisted had been contacted by email and SMS.

He stated, “The affected candidates, numbering 5,000, are to appear at the agency’s academy, Citadel Counter-Narcotics Nigeria, (CCNN), Katton Rikkos, Jos, Plateau State, for the screening and documentation exercise between January 10 and 23, 2021 at 0900 hours daily.”

In a similar petition to the President signed by one Musa Ahmed Yusuf, some concerned officers of the agency had accused the outgoing NDLEA boss of diverting N2.8 billion monthly operational allowances for commanders.

“Since 2016 that Abdallah took over, he has stopped the payment of monthly running cost to commanders. This has continued all through his tenure.

“The monthly allocation of the agency of about N48 million is used to service Abdallah’s personal interest. This has amounted to the sum of N2.8 billion in the past five years”, the petitioners alleged.

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Updated: Chadian President Idriss Deby dies, son takes over

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Chadian President Idris Derby has died at the age of 68.

He was said to have died while visiting troops on the frontline of a fight against northern rebels, the army said on Tuesday, the day after Deby was declared the winner of a presidential election.

Reuters reported that Deby’s son, Mahamat Kaka, was named interim president by a transitional council of military officers, spokesman Azem Bermendao Agouna, said in a broadcast on state television.

The late Chadian leader came to power in a rebellion in 1990 and was one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders.

According to the report, Deby and his army have been seen as a reliable Western ally in a turbulent region afflicted by jihadists. His campaign said on Monday he was joining troops on the frontline after rebels based across the northern frontier in Libya advanced hundreds of km (miles) south toward the capital N’Djamena. L1N2MC20E

The exact cause of death was not yet clear but a European diplomatic source said he had been killed.

“A call to dialogue and peace is launched to all Chadians in the country and abroad in order to continue to build Chad together,” Bermendao said, surrounded by several officers.

“The National Council of Transition reassures the Chadian people that all measures have been taken to guarantee peace, security and the republican order,” he said.

Deby, whose opponents accused him of repressive rule, pushed through a new constitution in 2018 that would have allowed him to stay in power until 2033 – even as it re-instated term limits.

He took the title of “Marshal” last year and said before last week’s election: “I know in advance that I will win, as I have done for the last 30 years.”

He was dealing with mounting public discontent over his management of Chad’s oil wealth and crackdowns on opponents.

But in the election results announced on Monday, Deby was credited with 79 per cent of the vote, handing him a sixth term in office. Several leading opposition figures boycotted the poll.

Western countries have seen Deby as an ally in the fight against Islamist extremist groups, including Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin and groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in the Sahel.

His death is a blow to France, which had based its Sahel counter-terrorism operations in the Chadian capital, N’Djamena.

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Senate probes CCT Chairman, Umar, over alleged assault

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The Senate on Tuesday commenced investigation into alleged assault by the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar on a guard, Clement Sagwak, at Banex Plaza, Wuse 2, Abuja.

The incident occurred on March 29, 2021.

Sagwak had also forwarded his petition to the National Human Rights Commission to probe the incident.

Senator Istifanus Gyang (Plateau North) submitted a petition on the incident to the Senate on behalf of his constituent, Sagwak.

Sagwak, had in his petition dated April 9 2021 and signed by his lawyer, Samuel Ihensekhien, accused the CCT chairman of abuse of power, assault, torture, and ‘xenophobia’.

A five-minute video that went viral captured Umar and the guard having an altercation at the plaza.

Sagwak, 22, and an employee of Jul Reliable Guards Services Limited, told the Senate he was attacked by Umar last month.

He said he was assaulted by Umar and a policeman attached to him after he informed him (Umar) that his car was not properly parked.

 

He said the CCT boss slapped him several times and forced him to kneel down in the presence of everybody while undergoing his lawful activities.

He asked the Senate to investigate the incident and ensure justice.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the petition to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to report back to plenary in four weeks.

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Governors agree to implement autonomy for assemblies, judiciary in May

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State governors under the Nigeria Governors’ Forum have agreed to implement autonomy for legislature and judiciary, with effect from May.

This coincides with the Senate through its Chairman for the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele saying autonomy for judiciary is non-negotiable.

Chairman of the NGF, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who is also Ekiti State governor, said the decision to implement the autonomy next month was reached in a meeting attended by federal lawmakers, representatives of the judiciary and legislative workers, and the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari.

The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) is on strike to protest the government’s failure to implement autonomy for the judiciary.

President Muhammadu Buhari had signed an order to that effect in May 2020, but the gazetting of the order was suspended after the President met with governors — triggering reports that the governors were frustrating the move.

Fayemi said the governors never objected to full autonomy for the state assemblies and judiciary, adding that “the issue is about implementation.”

“There has been no objection from governors on judicial and legislative autonomies. As a matter of fact, it would not have passed if governors were not in support in the first instance, in the state assemblies,” he said.

“But we don’t just want to agree to something on paper without working out the modalities for implementation. Thankfully, the meeting we have just emerged from, with the chief of staff to the president chairing, has worked out the modalities to the satisfaction of all parties.

“As soon as the final document that is being cleaned up emerges, that is preparatory to implementation. We’re not going to put a timeframe in the air, but it will be implemented as soon as possible, definitely no later than the end of May 2021.”

He urged the striking judiciary and legislative workers should return to work.

Fayemi said, “I think we are basically at a position where, whether you speak to the conference of speakers’ chairperson or you speak to me or you speak to the representative of the judiciary or you speak to the solicitor-general of the federation, you will hear that we’re speaking with one voice on the implementation.

”And no later than May, you will start seeing the implementation of the agreement that we’ve reached.”

Also speaking to journalists on the issue on Monday, Bamidele said it was laughable to be grappling with judicial autonomy at this stage of the nation’s development.

He said, “We cannot continue to call on the judiciary to give peace a chance when we know the conditions under which they work cannot guarantee a passionate and enhanced delivery of justice. We are talking about judicial reforms; we are talking about the need for justice sector reforms.

“This is central and crucial to the independence of the judiciary in this country. We must not be left behind by the rest of the civilized world. Nobody stands to lose anything by granting independence to judiciary at the state level since it has been done at the national level.

“The fact that workers and staff of federal judiciary are joining the protest is only in solidarity with their colleagues at the state levels. It is a union matter and we do not have a control over it. We are hereby calling on the State Governors to do the needful because the independence of the judiciary is non- negotiable.

“No democracy can survive without being founded on the rule of law and independent judiciary.”

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