PRESS RELEASE—The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) is shocked by the recent protest by the police officers in Maiduguri, Borno State over non-payment of their allowances. If what we read in the dailies and saw on the televisions are anything to go by, we consider it unfair and inconsiderate on the part of leadership to deny security officers who have left their families to stake their lives for our peace and security.
It is unfortunate that our country has become notorious with everything that hinders growth and development. In saner climes, the welfare of security operatives are not taken for granted. The reverse is the case here. An unpaid armed officer is a danger to himself, family, community and the society at large. It demeans us as a country that our security officers buy their uniform, shoes and other accessories. They do not have even decent accommodation. When you deny them six months allowances what then will motivate them in the war front?
Since the insecurity in the northeast began we have lost hundreds of them, if not thousands. Though their entitlements have not been paid to their families but they have been asked to vacate the barracks. Children are out of school and the widows are left homeless and hopeless. Such irresponsibility on the part of Police Service Commission (PSC) is probably the reason for cases of road blocks and illegal duty where money is extorted forcefully from Okada and Keke NAPEP riders, and even the general public. We do not support extortion in any form, but how does government and police authority expect these officers with family to survive for six months without salary?
It is important to note here that the responses by Spokesmen in government and security arms have not been encouraging. It was a slight for the Force Spokesman, acting DCP Jimoh Moshood, to have denied the reports and simply said the policemen visited the Borno State Police Command headquarters to enquire about the delay of their allowances, even when they sang war songs and shot sporadically. Most times they worsen a very bad situation.
The excuse of late passage of budget is weak. It does not go down with us. It is a perilous undertaking to delay the salaries of armed security officers. Under no circumstance should the police force be made to suffer, most importantly those that are working in war zones. It is not only the police are facing ugly challenge. The soldiers and others will join the protest soon. While we demand prompt payment of all entitlements, we also call on the federal government to probe into the matter and punish those that have caused the national embarrassment.