By Ahmed Rahma
The second wave of COVID-19 has put many countries on their toes again like it happened last year and efforts are being made again to curb the transmission of the virus.
In Nigeria, various state governments are beginning to limit the number of people in a gathering and just last week, the Ekiti State government said not more than 20 persons should be at a place.
Worried by the high rate the coronavirus was spreading in the country, the Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Mallami (SAN), last week directed the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to suspend the ongoing applicants screening for recruitment.
The Minister made this directive in a statement signed by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Dayo Apata (SAN).
“The attention of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has been drawn to the fact that the has directed a total of 5,000 candidates to appear at the Agency’s Academy, Citadel Counter-Narcotics Nigeria, (CCNN), Katton-Rikkos, Jos, Plateau State for the screening and documentation exercise between January 10 and 23, 2021 at 0900 hours daily.
“It is not in doubt that the exercise is long overdue and necessary for the actualization 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.
“In view of the foregoing, the Attorney General of the Federation has directed that the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Dayo Apata, SAN to seek clarification/advice from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on the public health implications of such an exercise especially as it relates to the adequacy/possibility of strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols by 5000 applicants at this time of the nation’s health emergency.
“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 statement had said.
In compliance with this directive, the agency has announced a halt to the exercise.
This was confirmed by the spokesman of NDLEA, Deputy Commander of Narcotics, Mr Jonah Achema, in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday.
Recall that on January 8, 2021, the agency released the list of shortlisted 5,000 candidates. They were due to appear for screening and documentation between January 10 and January 23 at its academy, Citadel Counter-Narcotics Nigeria, Katton-Rikkos, Jos, Plateau State.
But this process has been put on hold.
“The minister ordered the suspension of the exercise given the current and alarming second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country.
“The agency is prepared to seek advice from the Presidential Task Force on COVID- 19 on the public health implications of such an exercise, especially as it relates to the adequacy and possibility of strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.
“The screening team had been directed to suspend all actions and return to the National Headquarters, Abuja, immediately for further briefing.
“There shall be no prejudice against any candidate that turned up for the screening or that failed to do so,” Mr Achema said.
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