Election:- The Rank and File of the Nigeria Police Force may take to the streets, barring rapid police intervention. This time, it is undoubtedly not to defend lives and property but rather to vent their resentment about unpaid pay arrears and election allowances.
The fact that they have not yet received their duty allowances for the recently held Presidential and National Assembly elections has angered a sizeable portion of this group of police officers renowned as the Force’s trusty foot soldiers.
If the planned demonstration materializes, it would mean that the elections for the state houses of Assembly and the governor will go place on Saturday without police protection, which would be dangerous.
Even worse, individuals in the Senior Inspectors position are also irate since they haven’t received their compensation increase for the previous six months in full.
The Police High Command, denying the allegations, asserts that it did in fact offset the payments for the Presidential and National Assembly elections. Nevertheless, the high command has not stated why the six months’ worth of arrears hasn’t been paid yet.
The Vanguard Investigator’s inspections across the federation’s states revealed that several policemen had not yet received their allowances for the first round of voting. The results of this Saturday’s elections for the State House of Assembly and governor are similarly uncertain to them.
Even those who have received the allowances, however, continue to complain that the sum was far less than what they had been paid for prior elections.
For example, The Investigator discovered that Corporals and Constables received N20,000 instead of N40,000 during the 2019 general elections.
Inspectors received N35,000 this year compared to N85,000 in 2019, while Superintendents of Police, or SPOs, received N35,000 compared to 86,000 and above in the general elections of 2019.
According to a deputy superintendent of police in the Edo State Police Command, his pay in the 2019 general elections was above N100,000, but he was only given N40,000.
Further investigation found that the irate cops, who are prohibited from protesting due to the Police Force’s regimented structure, let out their frustration with the system by reluctantly carrying out their election-related responsibilities two weeks earlier.
Some of them, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, claimed that the subliminal protest caused them to purposefully refrain from intervening in some locations where ballot boxes were taken.
One of them, an inspector in Lagos State, lamented the non-payment of their allowances, saying, “As I speak with you today, March 7, 2023, I am yet to receive my election allowance and we are due to go for another election duty this weekend.
“Even though some of my coworkers had received theirs, we were told that the pay points were the cause of the issue.
“Policemen who were moved to other states were affected. They will get the allowance from their prior pay points, it was said. Banks have not made any announcements or been heard from yet. I was sent to Benin in preparation for the 2019 elections. But, I’m a part of the Lagos State Command. I was instructed to go to Benin bank to pick up my 2019 election pay. Everywhere there is chaos.
Numerous police officers in Ondo State who spoke with vanguard verified receiving their duty payments but complained that they were underpaid.
The gospel truth, my brother, is that one of the officers said that I had been paid, but that I had been paid insufficiently. Even some of my coworkers complained about not getting their own allowances.
State of Oyo
In Oyo State, a variety of police officers voiced their discontent about the challenges they were having getting theirs from their separate microfinance banks.
We don’t have a problem with the Police authority, a police officer who requested anonymity remarked. I’ve already received my allowance, as for me. I took part in the demonstration. But I later realized that our microfinance banks were the source of the issue. Only the microfinance banks have received our allowances from the headquarters for payment.
I haven’t yet received my allowance, a female police officer who also talked to the media remarked. We were informed that it had been distributed from the main office. This morning I went to my bank, however, I was unable to get my allowance from the bank. Regarding the headquarters’ payment of our money, we truly don’t have any issues. Our problem is microfinance banks.
“We were told the microfinance banks delayed,” a different police officer remarked. When we questioned them about the delay, they were unable to provide any specific explanations. We are unable to complain, unfortunately.
In Osun State, the narrative was the same. He explained to a Sergeant that the payment is typically issued one or two days prior to the election. The week following the election, the allowance will not be paid for the first time.
Most of the police officers in Ekiti State who spoke with Vanguard expressed their outrage at the ugly development, “especially at this distressing naira redesigned period,” adding that those of us who were deployed for electoral duties on February 25 have not yet received our allowances despite being assured that it would be paid right away following the March 11 election. You now understand our people, and there is a lack of trust. We simply sense that half of it is paid now and the balance after the election in March.”
A lamenting about the underpayment of allowances was as loud in the states of Cross River and Akwa Ibom as it was for those who had not received any money at all. A police officer who asked to remain anonymous told Vanguard that he was only given N35,000 instead of N95,000 and that many of his coworkers had not yet gotten theirs.
“They are always paid simultaneously, so I got an alert for N35,000 instead of N95,000 for the two elections on February 25 and March 11 (later postponed to March 18); I don’t know if there will be another payment,” he stated.
The majority of the police officers interviewed by Vanguard in the Katsina, Plateau, Bayelsa, Benue, Kano, Kaduna, and River state Police Commands confirmed they received their allowances between the day of the presidential and national assembly elections and three days afterward, in contrast to their counterparts in the South West. Also, they noted that it was less than what they had received in 2019.
I was underpaid, one of them, an inspector, complained. Please relay this information to the IGP so they can determine where the mistreatment originated. I received N35,000 rather than N150,000 as payment.
There is a gap in the allowance, according to another Inspector. “Inspectors were paid roughly 104,000 nairas in 2019, but starting in 2023, we will receive a flat salary of 35,000 nairas for both inspectors and sergeants.
“We just learned that we would receive another payment this week in a tranche. I won’t speak about the shortchanging till after that time. Yet, I received an N35,000 alert for the first round of voting this year.
“I am also aware that they started from constables before paying sergeants; then all of a sudden they leaped Inspector II and started paying just high officers, leaving positions like ASP, DSP, SP, amongst others”.
One of the police officers who had not yet received the first leg of payment contacted us to let us know that the second leg of the allowance for the gubernatorial and state houses of assembly had started to be paid as of 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.
He stated, “I don’t know why I am one of the unfortunate officers who have not yet received the allowance,” in an anguished voice.
Two of my coworkers reported that they were informed of the second payment today (Tuesday). But as of right now, I haven’t even gotten the first one.
The investigator also discovered that the small group of people who received the second payment tranche received the same amount as the first, which fueled additional allegations that it fell short of what was paid in 2019.
Police officers on election duty are expected to be paid their allowances before the election date; in fact, they should get it before they report to their respective duty locations, according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) Mr. Okechukwu Nwagunma. They shouldn’t be left exposed to corruption and improper behavior.
“Police officers frequently have to go outside of the states where they were hired, and they will require their allowances to cover their travel, lodging, food, and other personal expenses. Many people will also need to pay for the family they are leaving behind with money.
“They are subjected to hardship and a variety of other inconveniences when they don’t receive their allowances in advance, which has frequently been the case. Due to their poverty, they are more susceptible to unscrupulous influences and may be forced to rely on politicians and party officials for necessities like food and water. They develop a loyalty to their supporters and are more likely to behave improperly.