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NDLEA: Marwa, Late Officers’ Widows Hail Buhari over Payment of Entitlements

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Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) on Wednesday 25th August joined widows of deceased officers of the Agency to appreciate and pray for President Muhammadu Buhari for granting intervention fund to pay the burial entitlements of at least 188 personnel who died in active service.

Marwa and the widows spoke at a brief ceremony at the Agencys headquarters in Abuja for the payment of burial entitlements that had been pending since 2014 to the widows and families of the deceased officers. The NDLEA chairman recalled how President Buhari had equally stepped in to provide bailout funds for states twice to be able to pay workers salaries, among other pro-masses interventions by his administration. In the course of his speech, he asked the gathering to offer both Islamic and Christian prayers for the President and his government.

We owe a big thank you to President Muhammadu Buhari for his magnanimity in providing us with a special intervention fund to discharge our duty, specifically to officers and men who lost their lives in the line of duty, he stated.

According to him, Todays event is very significant to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and the families of our officers and men. The prevailing solemnity cannot be helped, given that the proceedings relate principally to officers who have passed on. This presentation of burial expenses payments to their families and beneficiaries will understandably evoke painful memories and sober reflection for us all. However, the Agency finds a modicum of consolation in its ability to discharge its duty to its employees who paid the supreme price while pursuing the NDLEA mandate. Hence, this occasion is symbolic as an attestation of the resolution of the NDLEA leadership to engender an institution where the welfare of staff commands utmost priority.

While acknowledging that fighting illicit drug trafficking and abuse is a tough job, not only in Nigeria but also globally, Gen. Marwa however said that the battle is twice as dangerous due to the obvious reason that the drug abuse prevalence of our country is three times that of the global average.”

For him, this precarious matrix did not deter our personnel from performing their duty of safeguarding society from the scourge of illicit substances. Even though there had been demoralising circumstances and there are distressing conditions that could dampen their will and zeal, the officers and men of the NDLEA neither abandon their duty nor lose their sense of responsibility to society. The achievements recorded in the past seven months are a testament to the hard work and loyalty of the NDLEA workforce.

“In the same vein, the NDLEA leadership has been working strate
gically to navigate the bureaucratic labyrinth and break the gridlock that had kept the Agency at a standstill for several years. One of our objectives is to enshrine an effective workplace ecosystem where the welfare of the NDLEA staff, the prevailing working condition is at par with what is obtainable in other national security services. Moreso, we aim to engender a milieu where issues relating to the career of staff are processed according to global best practices. What we are doing today is one of such strides.

He reminded the gathering that the NDLEA is not made up of the headquarters buildings but the officers and men who work to achieve institutional goals. According to him, Whatever achievements we have to our credit, they are a product of the service, sweat and sacrifice of our officers and men. Imperatively, it is incumbent on the leadership to look after their wellbeing, cater to their welfare while they are here and even when they are no longer in service. We will do these to our maximum capability, especially for those that died in the line of duty. Otherwise, how do we convince those in service to be committed if we fail to tidy the affairs of those who lost their lives in the line of duty?

“It is to this end that we have worked assiduously and purposefully to ensure the payment of burial expenses to the families or beneficiaries of 188 personnel that we lost while on duty. Although the last payment was in 2014, I would not want us to regard todays event as a once in a blue moon development. We are presently perfecting a process that will run seamlessly such that our personnel get their emoluments, allowances and other benefits as and when due.

“We are aware of the challenges in processing life insurance claims and pension benefits from Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs). We have been in contact with these institutions for early processing of claims. For life insurance claims, we have received 30 discharge vouchers for 2017 deaths and 10 discharge vouchers for 2020 deaths from the underwriters and brokers. By discharge vouchers, it means the claims are at the last stage of payment. We are still processing other due insurance claims for other years with the relevant institutions. I have also directed that the internal group personal accident insurance scheme be resuscitated for death, medical expenses, temporary and permanent disabilities.

While apologising to the widows and families of the deceased officers and men who died in the line of duty for the late payment of the entitlements, Gen. Marwa said the best Nigeria and Nigerians can do to immortalise these late officers and men is for all to stand and join the fight against the twin evils of drug trafficking and drug abuse, the main cause for which these heroes laid down their lives.

The NDLEA shall not abdicate its responsibility to its employees. We shall continue to reinvent our administrative process to be responsive in an efficient and timely manner that will assure our officers and men that their future is well secured.

Speaking on behalf of the other widows, Mrs Khaltume Hassan Amali expressed appreciation to President Buhari for coming to the aid of NDLEA to enable the Agency meet its obligations to the families of its deceased officers. She commended the President for appointing a seasoned and an excellent administrator as Chairman/Chief Executive of the Agency.

“We shall continue to pray to God to guide and protect you, your officers and men as you strive to move the Agency to greater heights. We are also grateful to you for ensuring that the widows and children of deceased officers do not suffer injustice,” she added.

Femi Babafemi
Director, Media & Advocacy
NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja
Wednesday 25th August, 2021

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JAMB Advises Candidates Against Dressing Indecently to UTME

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Ahead of the 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and Direct Entry Examination, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board has issued advisories against the use of henna otherwise known as “laali”, bogus jewelry, outrageous outfits among others.

The Punch gathered that the board took the decision following observations that such mode of dressings and adornment led to distractions during examinations organised by the board.

In the advisory exclusively obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday, the board said, “Henna when applied on the fingers obstructs the smooth biometric verification of the candidates’ fingers. Also in an attempt by candidates to clean their fancy henna drawings, they used chemicals that damaged the whorls on their fingers, hence making biometric verification and authentication difficult.

“The Board reiterated its position of “No Biometrics, No examination rule” and urged candidates to desist from any act that could jeopardise their chances of taking the UTME.

On indecent dressing, the Board warned candidates “against indecent dressing, which in some cases, had constituted a major distraction to candidates, embarrassing even the candidates wearing such dresses as others pass offensive glances at them thereby destabilising their comportment for the examination.

“In some cases, it has been used to aid and abet examination malpractices. The Board views such improper dressing as a serious breach of the UTME ethics, adding that provocative and seductive dressing as well as willful and deliberate exposure of one’s body to the public will no longer be condoned as they are capable of causing distraction to candidates and examination officials alike.”

The advisory listed indecent dressing to include, but not limited to, “sleeveless tops, body hugs, knickers, transparent clothes, canopy headties, bogus fashion jewelries, spaghetti tops, and off-shoulders, among others.”

The Board reiterated that pencils were allowed into the examination hall for the UTME.

The Punch

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Metro

Woman Commits Suicide Beside Two-Year-Old Daughter in Abuja

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A yet-to-be-identified nursing mother has committed suicide, abandoning her child in a bush where her corpse was discovered along Suuka Airport road, in the Federal Capital Territory.

PUNCH Metro gathered that an empty bottle of insecticide was found beside her corpse in the bush on Monday.

A resident in the area, who identified himself simply as Nnaji for security reasons, told our correspondent that the victim’s corpse was found when passers-by heard her baby crying in the bush.

Nnaji said, “The corpse of a middle-aged woman was seen in a bush in our area on Monday evening. A two-year-old girl was sitting close to her crying.

“It was even her cry that attracted passers-by to the scene of the incident. We got there and found an empty bottle of insecticide by her side; her body smelt of the insecticide. She is not a known person in the area and no one knows what made her do this.”

Contacted, the FCT police spokesperson, DSP Josephine Adeh, said the corpse had been deposited in a morgue, adding that the child was in the custody of the police as efforts were on to trace the woman’s relatives.

She said, “I can confirm to you that this case was reported at our division in Iddo. The corpse has been deposited at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital morgue.

“We cannot rush to the conclusion that she drank sniper, an autopsy will be conducted to determine the true cause of her death.”

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LASPOTECH Undergraduate Narrates Ordeal with Human Body Parts Merchants

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An undergraduate of the Lagos State Polytechnic, Marvelous Omobobola, who was abducted by a kidnap syndicate in the state, has been released after his family members paid N200,000 ransom.

PUNCH Metro gathered that Omobobola went to school on Saturday to sign a SIWES form.

After he was done, the undergraduate boarded a tricycle to his hostel in the Odogunyan area of Ikorodu, Lagos State.

The 28-year-old said the tricycle operator was conveying him and other passengers to their destinations in Odogunyan when he suddenly veered onto a street to avoid the traffic ahead.

Omobobola said the tricycle operator was navigating the street to link the expressway when he suddenly parked beside a bus located near a bush.

He said he and other passengers were lamenting the abrupt stop beside a bush around 5pm when some armed men stepped out of the bus, pounced on them and whisked them away.

Narrating his ordeal to our correspondent, Omobobola said, “I went to school on Saturday to sign my SIWES form because we were to start exams on Monday.

“When I was done around 5pm, I boarded a tricycle from my school to my hostel in Odogunyan. There was traffic along the way so the tricycle operator diverted into a street.

“We were three at the back of the tricycle and one man sat beside the tricycle operator at the front. We asked why he left the road and he told us it was because of the traffic.

“Suddenly, the tricycle operator parked beside a bus and some men with guns pounced on us and ordered us into the bus that was parked near a bush. We met some people on the bus when we entered it.”

Omobobola said the tricycle operator left to bring more victims, adding that the kidnappers seized their phones to keep them incommunicado.

The undergraduate said, “They drove us into the bush where some people visited to price us like goats. Some people among my group were taken away into a room where they were killed and well-dressed people came with coolers for their body parts.

“When we were told to take off our clothes, one of the kidnappers saw the Celestial Church crucifix on my waist and he put me aside. He asked me what the crucifix was for and I told him I am from a celestial family.

“He then returned my phone and told me to call my people to pay a ransom for me before their leader, one Alhaji, comes. He said when their leader returns, he would not be able to help me because Alhaji procures human parts for politicians and other people. He said I would be killed if he found me there.”

Using Omobobola’s phone, the kidnappers contacted his mother, Ronke, and demanded N700,000 ransom.

Our correspondent who was with Ronke when she commenced negotiation with the suspects heard them telling her to choose between purchasing a coffin to bury her son and raising the money to secure his release.

The kidnappers later agreed to collect N200,000 and after ending the call, the aggrieved mother was seen begging people including church members for money and was able to raise N100,000.

Speaking with our correspondent,  Ronke said, “I am not myself as I am speaking to you. I heard the sound of people crying on the phone and my son said the kidnappers cut two people’s throats like cows in an abattoir. I have been told to send the N100,000 into my son’s account for his release.”

Our correspondent quickly contacted the state Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi, and he detailed the Divisional Police Officer, Odogunyan Police Station, to investigate the case.

Omobobola’s phone number was sent to the DPO who traced calls made to the number.

However, after the mother of the undergraduate paid the N100,000, the kidnappers, after using his ATM card to withdraw the money from a Point-of-Sale operator, used Omobobola’s phone number to borrow N100,000 from online credit companies.

It was learnt that the borrowed money was also withdrawn and the victim was released around 2am on Sunday.

Contacted, the Director of Information and Public Relations, Lagos State Polytechnic, Lanre Kuye, told our correspondent that the institution just got wind of the case.

He added, “We would make a case to the Lagos State Police Command to prevent future occurrences against staff and students.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, when contacted, said the command was on the matter, adding that the culprits would be arrested soon.

The Punch

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