By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – The Senate has laid to rest the lingering case of 71 officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, who were disengaged from the services of the agency in 2007.
The Senate upheld that due process was followed in the compulsory retirement of the 71 officers of the NDLEA and directed the Agency to process and pay the entitlements of the retirees with immediate effect.
The Senate’s resolution was conveyed in a letter marked NASS/CNA/106/Vol.10/038 and addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah.
One Elomeme Austine and 70 other staff members of NDLEA had petitioned the eight Senate; protesting their alleged wrongful retirement from the Agency.
However, sequel to a report by its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition, which looked into the petition by the disengaged staff, the Red Chamber resolved that the retirement of 71 officers was consistent with the Public Service Reform Policy of the then Olusegun Obasanjo administration which directed the Agency to purge itself of officers and men without clean records of service and those found culpable in acts of gross misconduct.
It could be recalled that the affected staff had earlier petitioned the sixth and seventh Senate which conducted public hearings on the matter and decided that the Agency, in disengaging the staff, did not violate any known labour laws. They also challenged the action of the Agency up to the Court of Appeal but the court ruled in favour of NDLEA.