As complains rock NDLEA over promotion exercise…




In recent times, some personnel of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have been complaining about lopsided promotion within the agency which they want the chairman, Gen Mohammed Marwa (rtd) to look into with a view to correcting it. MUHAMMAD TANKO reports.

Tens and dozens working staff of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have intensified cries and yearning for thier lawful promotion in accordance with the agency’s guiding principles, the federal character as well as public service rules.


Some of the aggrieved staff of the agency have alleged that the special committee set up by executive chairman Gen Buba Marwa (rtd) led by Col Yakubu Bako (rtd) has failed in its assignment. It must however be noted that this failed backlog of promotion of staff to their respective levels had been on since 2011.

Issues

In a letter of complaint by one of the staff members by the name Julius Mark addressed to Gen Marwa as obtained by Blueprint, it said, “Sequel to the directive in circular referenced: NDLEA/CCE/45/VOL.II 85, dated 17 June, 2021…I wish to submits that since I joined the agency I have only been promoted once in the last 10 years.”

He said even though the NDLEA Condition of Service 2019 clearly and evidently stated that compass 03-06 are eligible for promotion within the minimum period of two years and while compass 07-14 are eligible for promotion within the minimum of three years, many of them were left unpromoted.

Corroborating the complaints, some insider sources within the agency’s commands in Bauchi, Kano, Jos, Sokoto, Enugu, Rivers, Ibadan as well as the agency’s headquarters in Abuja, said their boss had upon resumption in office set up a committee to work within the ambit of the agency’s Scheme of Service 2019 and Condition of Service 2019 with a view to looking into promotion of staff; however, the committee unfortunately jettisoned it, as according to them, the committee derailed from its mandate, noting that what it came up with was nothing compared to the assignment it was given.
According to the sources who spoke to Blueprint, they have individually written to Gen Marwa to intimate him of their grevancies but till date, they said nothing has been done about the matter.

“There were no responses to our complaints; we have a feeling that we are being unlawfully shortchanged in the scheme of things within the agency,”
one of the sources who did not want his name to be mentioned alleged.
The source said there were glaring inconsistencies and contradiction that betrayed the objectivity of the entire process of the committee’s work and reports to their boss.

“The invocation of federal character principle is absent in the promotion of Chief Superintendent of Narcotics (CSN) GL13 to Assistant Commander of Narcotics (ACN) GL 14, which, hitherto, has never been the case and this favoured a particular geo-political zone.

“There is non promotion of some personnel that have been pegged to the next rank ahead of those that have not been pegged.

“As a matter of fact, some have been even awarded double promotion i.e from Superintendent of Narcotics (SN) GL 12 to (ACN),” they alleged.


They further said some personnel were promoted ahead of their seniors. As a matter of fact, they cited example of Narcotic Assistants (NA) GL 05 to Assistant Superintendent of Narcotics II (ASN II) GL 08, while leaving out those on the rank of Senior Narcotics Agents (SNA) GL 06 without any promotion, making their juniors, now their seniors which, according to them, would certainly breed acts of insubordination and indiscipline.

“There are those that have passed their conversion exams since 2010 and ought to have been on the rank of SN but left at Deputy Superintendent of Narcotics (DSN) GL 10, effectively loosing a rank,” they alleged.


The aggreived staff said some with lower entry qualifications were given more preference over those with higher qualifications.

“For instance, there are those who possessed National Diploma whose entry rank was Senior Narcotic Agent (SNA) that have been promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Narcotics II (ASN II) GL 08 and some others to Assistant Superintendent of Narcotics I (ASNI) GL 09, while those with more relevant diploma like those with Polytechnic Diploma were left out,” they alleged.


They noted that the agency’s secretary was only promoted after 23 years of service, while many other instances, contrary to the agency’s condition of service are there to showcase where necessary.

According to them, after acknowledging the errors in the promotion exercise, Gen Marwa constituted a review committee in July 2021 with a time frame of four weeks to submit their findings and recommendation, but up till now nothing has been heard about the issue.

The agency’s official response

While dismissing the allegation, the agency’s head of media and advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi in a statement said that 75 percent of the workforce was promoted at once in June 2021, saying that was the highest in any single exercise since the establishment of the NDLEA more than three decades ago.

He said, “It is an established norm that promotions are not only based on qualifications, but also on vacancies.

“No law enforcement organisation can elevate all its staff members at a go considering such criteria as rank structure that is based on vacancies. Only a specific number can be promoted to some vacant positions even if all are qualified and that’s why there can only be one state commander in a state command.

“At the highest level in the agency where we have nine Deputy Commanders General of Narcotics and 25 Assistant Commanders General of Narcotics, these positions are not only spread along geo-political zonal considerations, but religious balance,” he said.

The agency’s condition of service

A check on the agency’s condition of service Chapter 2 Section 19 under guidelines for promotion, revealed that, “Promotion shall be determined strictly on the basis of competitive merit from amongst all eligible candidates and it should depend on existence of vacancy.”

It further stipulates in Section 9 (d) that staffers are eligible for promotion within the specified minimum period of two years.

It said, “CONPASS 3-6 minimum of two years, CONPASS 7-14 minimum of three years and CONPASS 15 and above minimum of four years.”

Staff disagree

This nonetheless, some members of staff have disagreed with the agency’s assertions that 75 percent of them where promoted in 2021.

Speaking anonymously, they noted that it wasn’t true that 75 percent of them were promoted. “Going by the list of those promoted under the Harmonisation/Proper Placement of Rank, only about 3,000 were promoted in 19 various positions out of more than 6,000 staff in the agency.”

On the promotion to the rank of ASN1, they disagreed with the position of Mr Babafemi, saying, “To our understanding, the rank of ASN1 is not subject to geographical quota regime or availability of space,” they averred.

They were of the opinion that it was against this background that they are drawing the attention of Gen Marwa to the issue while appealing for a revisit of the entire exercise in order to expeditiously redress what they called apparent anomaly so that the good intention of the Harmonisation/Proper Placement of Rank would inherently be achieved.

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