NDLEA: Marwa In, Abdallah Out As Chairman/CEO

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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.

Marwa: New Chairman/CEO, NDLEA

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.

Abdallah: Out

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.    


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