What the Nigerian police authorities had dismissed as ‘fake news’ has assumed a new dimension, as efforts by the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, to ward off a strike action by the Police junior cadre, is not yielding fruits.
Junior officers of the Nigeria Police appear decided on embarking on strike, with effect from March 26, the same day the All Progressives Congress (APC) has scheduled for their national convention in Abuja.
The rank and file of the Nigeria Police noted that a Level 3 officer of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) reportedly receives N280,000 monthly, while a Police constable receives just N45,700 per month.
Also, they said that a Level 8 officer of the EFCC goes home with over N490,000 every month, but an Inspector of police, with many years of experience, is being paid N109,200 as monthly salary.
Consequently, in an open letter addressed to the Inspector General, the men said they would not accept any pay rise below N100,000 monthly.
The rank and file wondered why they were being treated like slaves, even when they protect other people’s lives, with their own lives.
At the risk of being accused of mutiny, in line with extant service regulations, the men said they have been pushed to the wall and do not have any trust in their leaders.
“Sir, are you aware of the suffering your officers are exposed to? Many of us can’t afford 3-square meals per day. Some can’t send their children to school without bribes. Go to the barracks, you will see the slums where those officers that escort you around sleep.
“Sir, the least constable, who pays house rent, electricity bills, feeds himself and his family still earns about N47,000 in a month. Tell me how such a constable will not extort members of the public?
“We know how much the Senators, House of Representatives members, governors and others we protect day and night earn monthly, yet we don’t misbehave; but don’t forget that a hungry man is an angry man,” the letter signed anonymously by concerned police officers read in part.
Speaking further, the aggrieved officers said they would embark on the purported strike, “if constables earn less than N100,000 monthly; if we continue to buy kits for ourselves; if our promotions are delayed without reason while you give those that serve in IGP SEC special promotions; if our men continue to die without compensation for their families; if the federal government continues to expose our men to danger by not providing weapons to combat crime.”
There are reports of a message circulating to mobilise the men for a nationwide protest at the Eagle Square in Abuja and the 36 State commands on March 26.
The message directed the men not to go for duty on the day, asking those attached to politicians to stay at home.