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EXCLUSIVE: Allegations Of Cash For Promotion, Nepotism, Other Corrupt Practices Rock Nigerian Anti-Narcotics Agency, NDLEA

They said some of their colleagues recruited even five to eight years later have been promoted up to two times or more.

Some men and officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have been lamenting how the anti-narcotics agency, through its harmonisation and promotion exercise, has allegedly denied them promotion for about 20 years.

They said some of their colleagues recruited even five to eight years later have been promoted up to two times or more.


Some sources within the agency told SaharaReporters that following the persistent cries of the aggrieved officers, the current leadership of the agency upon assumption of the office promised to clear the backlog of promotion arrears and correct the distortion of seniority ranks to instil discipline among the workforce in the agency.
To fulfil its promise, the management of the NDLEA on February 3, 2021, inaugurated a 7-man harmonisation expertise committee headed by Col. Yakubu Bako (rtd) who also serves as Special Adviser to the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CCEO) of the agency.
The committee was mandated to correct all issues with delayed promotion, and stagnation and produce a proper, accurate and credible seniority roll of all personnel of the agency.

But sources within the agency said that upon the release of its report, there were more complaints and outrage among officers and men of the agency as the Committee reportedly failed to do justice to the assignment given to it in accordance with the terms of reference in the circular upon its inauguration.

“It was discovered that the Committee members had gone on to carry out a lopsided harmonisation that further placed the most recently recruited officers with political connections ahead of their seniors who had been stagnated for more than a decade before they were employed in the agency.

“Some members of the committee themselves also secured proper placements for themselves as well as their alliance but failed to do the same for less fortunate other old officers within the system. This further deepened the bad blood in the agency as officers continued to feel disillusioned,” one of the sources said.

Following more complaints and widespread condemnation of the harmonisation committee’s report by the long-serving officers who said they have only enjoyed single promotion whereas their juniors who were employed less than a decade ago enjoyed proper placement with two promotions, the CCEO, Brig-Gen. Buba Marina, through a circular with ref NDLEA/CCEO/45/VOL.VII, dated July 6, 2021, inaugurated a Review

Committee headed by the SA, Otunba Lanre Ipinmisho and five others to X-ray the alleged lopsided harmonisation.
Also on the committee were the Chairman of the Harmonisation Committee, Col. Yakubu Bako (rtd) and Head of Statistics and Records, Saidu Daniel, as observers.
The circular mandated the review committee to look into allegations arising from the harmonisation exercise including “junior officers who by reason of harmonisation have unjustifiably become senior to their superiors; officers who failed promotion examinations thrice but passed and were promoted at the fourth attempt in 2019 and whose next promotion should have been 2022 but promoted to higher ranks.
“Inappropriate appointment of effective dates of promotion thereby conferring undue advantage; officers who were inadvertently omitted or overlooked, in the promotion exercise; officers who should have reached their promotable bar but without additional qualification have been promoted to higher ranks and any other act of omission or commission in the conduct of the exercise causing dissension among officers and me.”
The review committee was mandated to make recommendations as considered appropriate and submit its report within four weeks from the date of inauguration.
The committee chairman then called on all the aggrieved officers to submit their petitions or complaints to be addressed but one year after its inauguration, the outcome of the review exercise is yet to see the light of day.
One of the sources said, “These have consequently raised a lot of confusion and concerns in the minds of officers who have spent most of their service years in committed service and sacrifice to our dear nation, Nigeria.
“It is pertinent to print out that NDLEA is no stranger to harmonisation expertise as the officers of the agency have once enjoyed harmonisation since the inception of the elitist organisation. The first one was done in the year 2001 by the then Chairman/Chief Executive, a retired SSS Director, Alhaji Lafiaji, of which officers were properly placed on the rank commensurate with their years in service depending on their qualifications at points of entry. It was a widely acclaimed successful exercise as it was done strictly in adherence with civil service rule.”
SaharaReporters was informed that the current frustration among the ageing workforce was further heightened when rumours filtered through about an alleged compilation of names for promotion exercise which was alleged to have been for the highest bidders.
Some of the sources said they investigated the veracity of the claim and found that a circular for notification of the promotion exercise was published along with a list of names of candidates considered eligible.
Some of the shortlisted officers allegedly paid a certain amount of money to some of the administrative staff who had shortlisted the candidates.
“This new development was greeted with widespread condemnation as the pending report of the Harmonisation review committee had not been published and issues concerning distorted seniority list were still pending,” a source said.
The sources told SaharaReporters that some candidates shortlisted for the 2022 promotion had recently enjoyed promotion already whereas others who had submitted memoranda to the review committee for consideration for proper placement were yet to be attended to.
“No wonder the alleged fraudulent promotion exercise was suspended within 48 hours in a circular titled Re: List of Eligible Officers for 2022 Promotion Examinations CSA to CSN with reference number NDLEA/CON/SUB1/VOL.III/146.
“It is sad to note that while the CCEO, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa seems poised to correct all inherited abnormalities in the once moribund agency, forces among its management who are fast approaching retirement are determined to frustrate all efforts made by the Chairmen so as to protect their interest.”
The sources further alleged that some of the administrative staff in charge of posting as well as training and promotion “have recruited cronies of drug barons, politicians, as well as their family members and, are determined to position them in the helm of affairs of the agency well ahead of their own retirement.

NDLEA Scandal by Sahara Reporters on Scribd

“These ones now enjoy special treatment upon their recruitment, training and deployment as they are posted to sensitive beats such as international airports, seaports as well as other specialised outposts and special formations without consideration for expertise or experience which such assignments require.”
The sources expressed worries that with the current situation of things in NDLEA including “mismanagement of funds, distortion of seniority list, corruption and widespread nepotism being witnessed, the agency may have been positioned by strong forces within its workforce to take Nigeria back to its dark days far worse than it was before the inception.”


When SaharaReporters called the Spokesperson for the NDLEA, Mr Femi Babafemi, he said 75 percent of the agency's workforce had been promoted. 

He said, "It is an issue that has been taken care of in the past. The agency last year promoted over 75 percent of its workforce. There is no way you can promote 100 percent, and these are the same people that have been stagnated for years and they have channels of making their grievances known if they think there are grievances.

"A panel was set up to look at that." 
On the report of the harmonisation review committee which is said to have not been submitted after one year, he said, "The information is wrong. The panel has submitted its report and the report is under consideration." 

When asked if the aggrieved officers are aware that the committee has submitted its review report, he said, "But they were aware that they needed to channel their grievances to a panel, why wouldn't they be aware? I'm not aware that there is anybody stagnated."

However, one of the sources insisted that nothing has changed. 

"As I speak with you, there is no new development. There is no memo to the effect that the Harmonisation Review Committee has submitted its report, nor has there been any circular informing the aggrieved officers of their due promotion or consideration of their complaints," the source said. 

"In fact, rather than act on the complaints of the aggrieved officers, the agency has started victimising some of them. Some of them have been invited to headquarters for disciplinary processes while some who were supposed to be redeployed to another place primary assignment have been reversed. They are only using propaganda to confuse the general public while some of the affected officers are almost dying."