20/11/2010 12:28

NDLEA RAKES IN OVER N750M AS APPLICANTS KICK – INVESTIGATION

With over 500,000 applications received across the nation, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and its partners may have raked in about N750m from the ongoing recruitment exercise.

The number of entries received multiplied by a mandatory N1,500 application fee (application code scratch card) paid by each applicant produced the conservative figure.

Although 60,000 applicants were said to have participated in the Lagos interview held at the National Stadium last Saturday and Sunday, eyewitnesses said that the population of applicants in Lagos was close to 80,000.

That is apart from cases of thousands of applicants, who bought the scratch card, but could not access the web site because of high traffic, and those who had to buy a second time to correct errors made in their initial attempts, as the application code could not be used twice.

The Public Relations Officer, NDLEA, Mr. Mitchel Ofoyeju, said on the telephone on Friday that the venues chosen for the tests were picked based on the number of entries received from each station, where the interview held simultaneously across the states of the federation.

In a random sampling and guided by information available on the NDLEA website, it was found that at least 40,000 applicants sat for the test at the five designated centres in Abuja.

At least, 15,000 applicants must have written the test in the two centres each in Kaduna, Ogun, Osun, Delta, Oyo, Plateau and Bayelsa states.

A minimum of 10,000 applicants would have also written the test in the remaining 27 states; hence, the agency would have played host to over 500,000 applicants.

Some national dailies reported that only 60,000 applicants wrote the test in Lagos, but an eyewitness account had it that not only was the 45,000 capacity main bowl of the National Stadium filled to capacity, about half that number also wrote the test on the football pitch, while some others who arrived late wrote theirs outside the gate in their thousands.

A graduate applicant, Mr. Kingsley Okonkwo, who entered for the Category ‘A’ Superintendent of Narcotics cadre, said that the population of applicants who wrote the 50 objective questions examination on the pitch was about half the actual capacity of the main bowl of the stadium.

He said, “Those of us that wrote the two-hour test on Saturday were obviously over 70,000. Even the NDLEA officials were overwhelmed.

“The fact that they used 21 banks is enough to show that they meant to make good money from the exercise. We just hope this is not another way of defrauding unemployed Nigerians.”

A lawyer, Mr. Jide Zaid, whose younger brother partook in the test in Lagos, referred to the exercise as fraudulent.

He wondered why the test was not conducted in batches to make it well organised, saying there was not much that any organisation could achieve from such a poorly organised test.

He said, “When will our people learn to treat people with dignity? If you were at the venue, you would think that a popular football side was playing a match. It was awful.”
agency had very few positions to fill, which did not warrant the volume of scratch cards it sold.

Another source close to the committee in charge of the recruitment said that the agency had the mandate of the Senate to employ people from a prepared list into the few available positions.

A director of public prosecutions, who spoke in confidence said NDLEA’s budget could not cater for a large number of staff.

Describing the agency, which is overseen by the Federal Ministry of Justice as impoverished, he said, “The chair I use in my office was bought with my money; the fridge in my office was bought by me. If you get to some NDLEA offices outside Lagos, you will be shocked at what you would see.

“The truth is that we don’t need so many people, which is why I was surprised to see the multitude of applications being called for.”

However, Ofoyeju said the NDLEA, as a reputable organisation, would not do anything fraudulent.

He said that the recruitment committee chairman would have loved to give out the number of applicants and the number of positions available in the agency, except for the fact that three groups had already taken the agency to court over last weekend’s exercise.

He said that the testimonies of successful candidates would vindicate the agency.

He said, “You do not need to know anybody to get employed. There is no list from anywhere that we are obliged to follow; this is being done on merit. I do not see why an organisation like us would advertise positions that do not exit.

“Even the United States appreciates what we are doing as an agency against illicit drugs and we would not want to rubbish our image.

“As for the choice of the stadium for the test, the committee must have chosen that venue because of the large number of applicants. It was a 50 objective questions test; so, the question of table for the applicants does not arise.”

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