NACOB cries for governing board
The Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) has been left with no governing board for more than three years
last governing board, which provided strategic/policy direction to the national anti-illicit drug agency, was dissolved in November 2014 following the arrest of Nayele Ametefe at the Heathrow Airport for exporting 12.5 kg of cocaine through the Kotoka International Airport to the United Kingdom (UK).
Since the dissolution, the management and policy direction of the outfit has been in the hands of the executive secretary and a few other officers.
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By law, the executive secretary is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the agency.
NACOB was established in 1990 as the central coordinating body for dealing with the rising incidence of drug abuse in the country and the threatening dimensions that illicit drug trafficking had taken globally, sub-regionally and nationally.
The development has sent tongues wagging within the workers’ front.
A source at NACOB told the Daily Graphic that the workers were concerned about the lack of motivation, especially stalled promotions and inadequate working tools, as well as suspected procurement infractions.
In April 2017, the Minister of the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, during a visit to the NACOB headquarters in Accra, asked officers to stay calm as issues involving their conditions of service and promotions were being resolved.
The minister’s admonition followed media reports that some officers were protesting vigorously against the management for failing to address issues of salaries, promotions and upgrades in the ranks of both junior and senior officers.
According to the source, the staff also wanted to see a clear policy direction of NACOB on tramadol abuse and the use of illicit drugs.
It said they were particularly worried about the inaction of the agency to tackle the increasing use of illicit drugs among the youth, particularly in the educational institutions and some rural communities.
Also of concern was the increasing cultivation of marijuana in certain cocoa and coffee growing areas.
The source cautioned that if the development was not checked, it would negatively affect agriculture, particularly the cultivation of cash crops such as cocoa and coffee and food crops such as maize and cassava, for the fear that some farmers may shift from what they are growing now, to the cultivation of Indian hemp.
It appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to come to the aid of the outfit to ensure that the right things were done.
Efforts to speak to the acting Executive Secretary, Mr Francis Torkornoo, on how his outfit was coping with the development, proved futile.
Text messages to him drew a blank although he had first enquired from the Daily Graphic about the issues the paper wanted to discuss with him, which were provided.