By Stephen Ubanna
Barely two weeks that Mohammed Abdallah, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency , NDLEA, an agency of the ministry of Health, issued a directive to the 5,200 applicants who had applied for the various vacant positions in the agency to report at the Tin city of Jos, Capital of Plateau state for screening and documentation, information broke out on Friday, January 15, 2021, that he has been removed by President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General.
The news making the rounds was that the Katsina state born Nigerian President has replaced him with Buba Marwa, a retired Brigadier General and former military Administrator of Lagos state under the Administrations, of Nigeria military President , Generals Ibrahim Bangida and late Sani Abacha between 1990 and 1992 He was also a one-time military governor of Borno state, now besieged by the Islamic Fundamentalists, BokoHaran and Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP, Insurgents. Marwa may have retired into business by floating the defunt Albarka Airlines.
With the Collapse of his Airline business, he had ventured into the murky waters of Nigerian politics, with the return of Democracy in 199, which was midwifed by Abdulsalami Abubakar, a retired army General and the then Head of state. He was said to have made two attempts to be the governor of Adamawa, Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President , home state under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP and Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, but lost out to the PDP, Candidates, on the two occasions.
In the 2007, Presidential election , he was said to have thrown his weight on late President Umaru Yar’Adua, a former governor of Katsina state and the then presidential Candidate of the then ruling PDP who won. The retired Brigadier General was Compensated with an Ambassadorial appointment by the Aministartion. He was appointed the Nigerian Ambassador to South Africa by late Yarr’Adua in 2007, despite the weighty allegations, making the rounds against him that was exposed by the New York based online Sahara Reporters in November 2007.
The Publication had reported that one Enrico Monfrini, a Switzerland based counsel representing Nigeria who had contacted the Federal government about mutual Legal Assistance request from Jersy Authorities in the North American country of the United States, US,in respect of an account with CIBC, Cayman Island Limited allegedly owned by Marwa, the retired Brigadier General, before then, that the Jersy Authorities were investigating the matter had received some illegal payments totaling more than $10 million.
The payment was said to have been made by one Raj Arjandras Bhojwani and his Company, Tata Sales and SServices SA, TOSS, to late General Sani Abacha, a former Nigerian military Head of state. The alleged $10 million payment was said to have been made in in exchange for the granting of inflated contracts for the supply of vehicles to the Aministration in the sum of $149 million , which was dated April 19, 1996 and $29 million contract dated August 12, 1997.
Even the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was said to have reported that some of the laundered proceed which had rested in the Cayman Island had turned out to be what was used ‘’to finance the establishment of Albarka Airlines under a shabby loan arrangement which no repayment’’ , which it had concluded that no repayment had been made to date.
Note that former President Good Jonathan had retained him as the Nigerian South African Ambassador but he had his plan B, when the All Progressive Congress, APC, which was an amalgamation of some parties was formed . The selection of President Muhammadu Buhari by the Mega Party members and subsequent defeat Jonathan, the then Nigerian President in the 2015, Presidential elections and subsequent swearing in of the retired army General on May 29, 2015, may have encouraged him to dump PDP and join the APC.
Ever since he decamped o the APC, he has been in the good book of the Katsina state born Nigerian President . Signs that he may appoint him as the Chairman /CEO, of the NDLEA, emerged in 2018, when he was appointed the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse, PACEDA, along with others ‘’to develop a blueprint on how to end drug abuse in the country’’.
Given his track record as the governor of Lagos state and the Nigerian Ambassador to South Africa, there are high expectations that he will turn the NDLEA as a performing agency based on the PACEDA blueprint which had had been presented to the Nigerian President
Many believe that the Nigerian President may have studied the report which was presented to him in December 2020 and was convinced that if the Nigeria former South African Ambassador is given the opportunity to implement the recommendations contained in the report on how to eliminate drug Abuse in the country in the country, it would make an appreciable impact impact than appointing a neutral person who has nothing to do with the Committee to Head the agency.
There was initial total confusion over the alleged removal of Abdallah, the former Chairman/CEO of the agency. Channels Television had published a report about the leadership change in the NDLEA and shut it down, within a few minutes last Sunday in its online. But the NDLEA, Leadership Change , had made the headlines in major Newspapers in the country including the Guardian, This Day, Vanguard and the Bluprint.
The Value News Magazine, an online publication had contacted Jonah Achema, A Principal Staff Officer, PSO, Public Relations, in the agency who had promised to respond to The Magazine inquiries on Monday, January 18, 2020. True to his promise he had confirmed that he is the new Chairman of the NDLEA, replacing Abdallah, who was appointed in 20116.