The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says its Chairman, Col. Muhammad Abdallah (retd), has not been sacked. Speaking with the NAN on Tuesday, in Abuja, NDLEA spokesperson, Jonah Achema, denied reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has sacked Abdallah.
However, Achema noted that the tenure of Abdallah who was appointed on January 12, 2016, expired on January 11.
He said: “The chairman was not sacked as reported by some media organisations. However, his five-year tenure elapsed on January 11.’’
Meanwhile, the agency has been directed by the Federal Government to suspend the screening and documentation of 5,000 candidates fixed between January 10 and 23, 2021 at its academy in Jos.
FG noted that the decision was reached due to an increase in COVID-19 cases across the country.
The government directed that the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, to reach out to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on the public health implications of such an exercise.
The development was disclosed in a statement released by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata (SAN), in Abuja on Friday evening.
The statement read, “The attention of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has been drawn to the fact that the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has directed a total of 5,000 candidates to appear at the Agency’s Academy, Citadel Counter-Narcotics Nigeria, Katton-Rikkos, Jos, Plateau State for the screening and documentation exercise between January 10 and 23, 2021 at 0900 hours daily.”
“It is not in doubt that the exercise is long overdue and necessary for the actualization of the agency’s mandate, however, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice notes that the timing is ill-advised and inappropriate given the current and alarming wave of COVID-19 pandemic across the country.”
“In view of the foregoing, the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation has directed that the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata (SAN) to seek clarification/advice from the Presidential Task Force on COVID – 19 on the public health implications of such an exercise especially as it relates to the adequacy/possibility of strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols by 5000 applicants at this time of the nation’s health emergency.”
“Considering the above, Malami directed the Chairman of the NDLEA to stay further action on this matter pending the receipt of clarification/advice from the Presidential Task Force.”
“The Chairman was further requested to notify the applicants of this development accordingly.”