Police House Of Celebrations As Agitations For Increase for Other Agencies Salaries Mount

By Ibrahim Shehu

Last week was celebration time for Nigeria Police Force,  NPF, officers across the country. This is because of  the new Rank Salary  Structure Adjustment  approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for the Force ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Eye witness account  who witnessed how officers responded to the Presidential approval in one of the police Divisions said they were in high spirit and ready to do the biddings of the President. The officers were said to have declared a  free for all party to show their gratitude to the President.

Many of them were found to have wore mufti  and others  their uniform , particular the rank and file, but armed  with their AK 47 as they danced to the rhythm. The source disclosed that the officers were careful not allow the street urchins who had flocked the scene to watch the officers who were happy that Buhari had adjusted  their salaries and allowances upward. The source confirmed that the officers who were armed at the party were at the instance of the Area Commander to forestall any attempt by the street urchins who had flocked the area to watch the officers  dancing to the rhythm of the music in the open space hijack the party and turn it to a war zone.

The story in Lagos state police Divisions and Area Commands was the same in Ogun , Oyo, Imo  to Sokoto among others. The officers may have started the celebration when  Zainab Ahmed, a former minister of State, Ministry of Finance and  now the substantive  minister of Finance and  the Revenue mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAC, may not have worked out the details, an indications that the police may not get  the Rank Salary Adjustment paid until next fiscal year when it could have been factored into yearly budgetary allocations.  An officer who could not hide his feeling said the good news was the pronouncement  made by the President about the increase. It  would never be reversed being a policy statement, he said.

In approving the rank salary adjustment for the police, the President had said,” it was done  because of their ‘Constitutional role as the frontline force in the prevention of crime in the society”. He stated that the  rank salary adjustment  for the force was done to  encourage the officers to take their rightful  place in Constitutional Democracy.

He is optimistic that with the approved salary increase, police officers would be more effective in quelling internal crisis without the involvement of the Army. ” I am pleased to make  the increase  in salary and allowances in the hope that it  will increase the performance index of the police and strengthen Nigeria’s internal security system”, the President had said.

Clara Ogunbiyi, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court and Full- time Commissioner in the Police Service Commission, PSC, who represented Musiliu Smith, the Chairman and Ibrahim Idris the Inspector General of Police, IGP, may have understood the body language of the President when they paid him a thank you visit at the Presidential villa. The duo were said to have assured him that the Rank Salary Adjustment would enhance  police  welfare and morale. To further buttress the  thinking of the PSC and the NPF,Idris, the IGP, was said to have reassured him that the  police would  redouble  efforts to ensure free, fair and credible elections throughout the country next year.

Ibrahim Idris: Inspector General of Police

 

Many believe no matter how President Buhari  increase the salary and allowances of police officers , it would not stop them from extorting money from motorists along the road. Take for instance, along the Sango Otta-Idiroko  land border, officer at the  various police checkpoint force motorists to pay N100.00. The Magazine gathered that this is what the officers on Morning, Afternoon and Evening collect daily. A souce confirmed that that they give numbers to the motorists. The source disclosed that motorists contact them to sought out change matters. What the Police officers are doing along the Sango Otta – Idiroko road was not different from those along the Lagos -Seme road are doing: extortion of motorists.

Insiders told the Magazine that the only time they would not be found on the road, according to a source  is either when the state Commissioner of police or the Inspector General’s Task Force are rumored to be around. This is why the IGP had to put an eye at what the officers are doing on the road to avoid people  looking down on the police on duty posts. They have no reason to complain of poor welfare, any longer, the source added.

The Presidential approval of Rank salary  adjustment for the police may have increased  the agitation for the increase of the salary and allowances of other government agencies such as the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS and prisons, among others. Senator Shehu Sani was said to have championed the course of the prison officials. The police may not have got the salary increase approval if Kemi Adeosun, a former minister of Finance and Hameed Ali, a retired Colonel and Customs Comptroller General had  resolved their differences to join forces to present the Customs case to the President in 2017. It would be recalled that Adeosun, the then minister of Finance had raised the hope of officers and men of the Service of improved salary at the World Customs Day  celebration but that was how far she could go. The president may have to move fast to increase Customs personnel salary to sustain the high revenue collection at the ports and land border areas and anti-smuggling.

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