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COVID-19: Malami orders NDLEA to halt screening of 5,000 new recruits

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FG stops NDLEA exercise

COVID-19: Malami orders NDLEA to halt screening of 5,000 new recruits

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, has ordered the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, to suspend its planned screening and documentation exercise for 5,000 new recruits.

Malami said his attention was drawn to a directive the NDLEA gave the 5,000 candidates to appear at its 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.

He described the invitation as “ill-advised and inappropriate given the current and alarming wave of COVID-19 pandemic across the country.”

While acknowledging that the exercise was long overdue and necessary for the actualization of the Agency’s mandate, Malami said the recruitment should be kept on hold, pending the receipt of clarification/advice from the Presidential Task Force.

A statement that was signed by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Dayo Apata, SAN, disclosed that the NDLEA Chairman, Col. Muhammad Abdallah (rtd), was requested to notify all the applicants of the development.

The statement read: “The attention of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has been drawn to the fact that the has directed a total of 5,000 candidates 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.

“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, Mr 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.”

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