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EXCLUSIVE: How Lopsided Promotion Of Officers By Nigeria’s Anti-Narcotics Agency, NDLEA Favours Candidates Of Political Office Holders, Denies Others For About 20 Years

The sources said that their promotions have been cumulatively stagnated for about 10 to 20 years which translates to a loss of three to six ranks.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), through its harmonisation exercise, has allegedly denied some officers promotion for about 20 years, while some of their colleagues recruited much later after have been promoted up to two times.
SaharaReporters gathered that the affected officers include CNA conversion course 1/2008 which comprised NA courses 7/94, 8/96, 9/97 and 10/98, who were already on CNA rank earlier before January 2004; with effective dates of promotion to ASNII dating back to 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 for NA courses 7/94, 8/96, 9/97 and 10/98 respectively.


However, sources in the agency told SaharaReporters that while the affected officers’ promotions have been stagnated for more than 15 years, those employed in “2011, mostly candidates of political office holders, enjoyed double promotions ahead and above their older colleagues whom they met on the job and were stagnated on level 7 and below”.
The sources said that their promotions have been cumulatively stagnated for about 10 to 20 years which translates to a loss of three to six ranks.
While admitting that they were promoted by one rank in the 2021 harmonisation exercise, one of the sources, however, pointed out that the promotion still kept them below their juniors who have received multiple promotions backdated accordingly.
“The most recent NA course who were recruited as SNAs 13 to 17 years after our recruitment, and 4 to 7 years after our ideal ASN II effective dates, were promoted ahead of us going by their effective dates,” one of the sources said.
He explained that the stagnation of their careers and distortion of their seniority in the service predates 2014, adding that “by 2014, some of us were already stagnated for up to 10 years”.
Explaining the process of conversion and how their promotion has been lopsidedly stagnated, another source said, “The criteria for successful conversion to the superintendent cadre is that the officer should have additional qualifications and attend mandatory conversion course.
“Meanwhile, the requirement of additional qualifications was waived for conversion courses 1 and 2 in favour of years of service and attainment of 50% cut-off mark as against 40% in normal promotion examinations.
“We have served and kept fate with the agency in deprivation, and denied most of our benefits for 23 to 27 years, giving our youths, bearing the scars, dangers of the lowest level of servitude while aligning our aspirations to the vision of the agency.”
He further explained that against its standard of conducting promotion examinations yearly, NDLEA did not conduct the examinations in 2006 and 2007, thereby denying CNAs who had resit the opportunity of promotion to ASN II with 2005 and 2006 effective dates their due opportunity to be promoted.
According to him, all CNAs with earlier or 2004 effective dates were made to go through conversion course 1/2008 with no cognizance of the fact that some older NA courses 7/94 and 8/96 were on re-sit. This, the source, said is in contradiction to the normal promotion condition that those on re-sit need only retake their papers to be promoted.
The imposition of the conversion course on these unprepared sets of officers made them unsuccessful in conversion course 1, it was learnt.
Also, though the NDLEA Scheme of Service provides that the conversion course should be yearly, one of the sources said it was not conducted in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, and “this also denied the unsuccessful candidates of conversion course 1, the opportunity of getting back on track with our career progression”.
“The negative impact was heightened thus,” the source said.
By 2014 when they were eventually promoted to ASN II by virtue of CNA conversion course 2013; their promotion which would have been with effective dates of 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 were still on CNA for 10, 9, 8, and 7 years after.
“The cumulative effect is loss of up to three ranks, meaning that as at 2013/2014 promotions, we would have been on the ranks of CSN, SN and DSN respectively. Though the effective dates of promotion of successful candidates of CNA conversion course 1 were backdated appropriately, that of CNA course 2/2013 converted officers were not backdated,” the source continued.
He lamented that the negligence has affected them both financially and psychologically, especially as many of them draw closer to their retirement age.
He said, “As our juniors are being promoted far ahead of us, we struggle daily with low self-esteem, ridicule, disgrace, indiscipline and shattered self-confidence. Going by our years of service and staring retirement in the face, the bleakness of our service life aspirations confronts us daily. The instances of career stagnation have excluded us from any serious service responsibility like mid-level command responsibilities.”
Amongst other things, one of the sources on behalf of the affected officers appealed to the Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Rtd), to place them on their ideal ranks of CSN and ACN and DCN, as this will help them rectify the distorted seniority issues.
He also appealed that their effective dates of promotions should reflect their ideal career progression save for the loss of seniority through re-sit, and in the event of challenges of federal character and vacancy in their placement, harmonization or promotion to ACN and above, the CSN effective date should reflect their ideal career progression.
Furthermore, they want the date of their first appointment and subsequent years of service to be used to place them accordingly, while individual service records are sought and used to place them properly with the correct effective dates according to individual peculiarities.
He also appealed that in line with the NDLEA conditions of service 2019, the issue of additional qualifications should not affect the career progression of converted officers in the area of pegging, considering the fact that it was waived in favour of higher cut-off marks.