The Federal Government, on Friday, January 8, mandated the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to stop the screening and documentation of 5,000 candidates scheduled to take place between January 10 and 23, 2021 at its academy in Jos.
This mandate to stop the NDLEA screening by the FG was due to the current and alarming wave of COVID-19 pandemic across the country.
Consequently, the government directed that the Solicitor-General of the Federation, Mr Dayo Apata, who is also the Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Justice, should seek clarification/advice from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on the public health implications of such an exercise.
Apata in a statement said, “It is not in doubt that the exercise is long overdue; and necessary for the actualisation of the agency’s mandate; however, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice notes that the timing is ill-advised; and inappropriate given the current and alarming wave of COVID-19 pandemic across the country.
“Considering the above, Malami directed the Chairman of the NDLEA to stay further action on this matter; pending the receipt of clarification/advice from the Presidential Task Force.”
The NDLEA chairman was also requested to notify the applicants of the development.
Meanwhile, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) officials across the country on Thursday, January 7, began a strike action over the fear of COVID-19 spread in the agency.
This was contained in a statement issued by the President of the Association of the Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, NIMC unit, Asekokhai Lucky, in an interview in Abuja.
According to him, the virus had been detected in three officials of the agency at its headquarters.
He said the workers were annoyed because the management of the NIMC was aware of the development; but kept it from workers, who could have taken necessary precautions to protect themselves.
Lucky also said the workers would meet with the government on Friday (today) to discuss the COVID-19 scare; and other issues that led to the strike.
He also revealed what angered the workers was that the government was aware that three employees of the NIMC had been infected; and that others were at the risk of contracting the virus, but kept quiet.
He stated, “Three workers of the NIMC have contracted COVID-19; because in our recent meeting a member of staff actually testified to it.
“The minute of that meeting captured it, as three persons are down with COVID-19. Some of us actually thought those guys were on leave. It was cleared yesterday (Wednesday) that they were treating themselves in isolation centres.”