Some officers within the Nigeria Police Force have expressed worries over the late implementation, as well as a cut in their new allowances which were promised by the Federal Government.
Our correspondent learnt that the new allowance for the police that were announced by the government last year had taken effect, but did not measure up to what was promised. Meanwhile, quite a number of police officers have resorted to different means to survive, as they complained that their take-home pay no longer sustains them.
Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), during a Federal Executive Council held on December 15, 2021, approved what was described as “peculiar allowance” for the police to commence from January 2022.
The Police Affairs Minister, Maigari Dingyadi, told journalists after the meeting that the allowance would increase police personnel’s take-home pay by 20% of their present earnings. He said the salary increase was part of efforts by the Muhammadu Buhari regime to meet the demands of the #EndSARS protesters.
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Baba, during his visit to the Lagos State Police Command on March 23, also assured that the salary increment would soon go into effect. He said relevant government agencies, including the National Salaries and Income and Wages Commission; the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation; and the Ministry of Police Affairs, had reached the final stages of computation of emolument details for all personnel of the Force.
Although, the new salary structure was initially delayed due to the inability to update it in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, the police authorities as a result, cited insufficient funds on the police cost line.
This was contained in a document seen by our correspondent and titled, “Salary Arrangement and Non-Implementation of Upgrade of Newly Promoted Officers and Addressed to Officers across Police Formations.” The document, which was dated June 22, 2022, and disseminated through the police wireless message, stated that the upgrade would affect the payment of salaries if implemented.
The document read, “Salary arrangement and non-implementation of upgrades for newly promoted officers. “According to information received on June 22, 2022, from the PAB office in Abuja, there is insufficient funding on the police personnel cost line, and if personnel promoted are upgraded to their next grade levels and steps, the police authority will be unable to pay salary.”
“The document, which was signed by the office of the Chief Financial Officer, Force Headquarters, however, indicated that the authority is making frantic efforts to ensure police personnel costs are augmented to absorb the cost implications of upgrading newly promoted officers.”
The Chief Financial Officer, Rivers State Police Command, Hyacinth Okolo, who signed the document, confirmed to our correspondent that it emanated from his office. Okolo, who did not grant our correspondent much audience, promised to return the call but had yet to do so. Efforts to reach him afterwards were futile. However, the hopes of the police officers were dashed as the promise was eventually fulfilled but not up to what they expected.
Our correspondent learnt that the allowance reflected in the salary that was paid in the month of August, but the calculation was below the 20% as promised. It was also learnt that the officers received their July and August arrears, while the subsisting ones between the month of January and June still remain unpaid.
The document reads, “Be informed that IPPIS Unit of OAGF has commenced the application of reviewed allowances in the payment of police salaries with effect from July 2022. A month component has been paid as supplementary salary (One month differential between the old and the reviewed composs) in July 2022. Personnel will start receiving alert of supplementary salary as from Friday 12/08/2022, while the remaining six months arrears (i.e January – June, 2022) will be paid subsequently. However, from August 2022, police salaries will be paid using the reviewed composs.”
Meanwhile, our correspondent learnt that the outstanding arrears had yet to be paid as of Wednesday August 31st. Some police officers who spoke to our correspondent however expressed doubt over the promise. The officers who craved anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the issue, also complained that the new changes had little effect in toning down their struggles to meet personal and family demands.
One of them who is a newly promoted Inspector said, “The truth is, we are feeling dejected and demoralised. We are emotionally tortured. We feel like what we are doing for the country is not even recognised. We are marginalised. How come other uniformed men are well-cared for while we are neglected? With this mindset, it will be very difficult to get the best out of us because we are always leaving our families behind to answer the nation’s call to make sure we maintain peace and order.”
Another officer with the rank of SP said, “We are like every other Nigerian. We go to market every day, and we all know how the costs of commodities keep rising. Some of us now rely on loan apps to survive. I personally have to do that to sustain my family, although some ended up defaulting while the loan company started to circulate their pictures. It is very embarrassing.”
Our correspondent also learnt that some of the police officers who got promoted earlier this year had yet to be paid salaries equivalent to their new positions. These include sergeants who were promoted to inspectors and the ones who got elevated from inspector (1) to confirmed inspector. While the new Inspector position applies to officers across the nation, the confirmed Inspector rank is limited to just about 2000 officers who made the supplementary list for the position.
Meanwhile, the set of confirmed inspectors who made the first list are receiving salaries that correspond with their new ranks. “I was happy when I got the promotion, but it makes no difference now that I am still receiving the salary of a Sergeant,” one of the newly promoted inspectors told our correspondent. Another officer said, “I informed my wife when I was promoted, but she now finds it hard to believe that my salary has not been increased.”
Contacted, the Force Public Relations, Muyiwa Adejobi, said he was not aware. He said, “It is the federal government that promised. I am not aware, but I will find out.” Reacting, a security expert, Akin Adeyi, urged the police to look inward to fund themselves.
He said, “The solution to this problem is to have a police organisation that is in charge of itself and gives us value in different forms. We should have a police force that is independent, not the ones that we have today that politicians have tied to their loins by way of making sure that they cannot generate their own funds for themselves and by themselves because of peculiar reasons that we all know.
“For instance, what is bad if the police in Nigeria have their own oil rig to fund their activities? But because this present arrangement is okay for the ruling class, when you have too much in your mouth to chew, you begin to vomit. They cannot take care of the police any longer. We have a police unit that we suppose is supposed to be generating money. How much are they generating?
“All these companies: look at the number of policemen working for them, and we will be here complaining of a shortage of police officers. So the police should look inward as to how they can take care of themselves.”