Some police personnel have lamented the reduction in their salaries for the past few months saying the situation has worsened their economic plight.
The police officers, cutting across states, said they have had portions from their salaries deducted especially for the months of February, March and April. The officers who are not named to in order to protect their identities as requested said efforts to get explanations from the police authorities have not been fruitful.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the Force Headquarters, FCT Police Command and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation have been besieged by police officers across the country seeking explanations on why their salaries are being cut.
A sergeant, who serves as a driver to one of the Assistant Commissioners of Police in Abuja, said N15,000 was being deducted from his salary monthly since the beginning of the year. He said this had adversely affected his spending power. He said despite formal complaints made by him to the authorities, he is yet to be given a reason for the deduction.
Similarly, a female Inspector who is serving in the Lagos Command said she came to Abuja to complain about the monthly deduction of N27, 000 from her salary for the past few months. She said the salary she recieves is hardly enough to cater for her family and that the deduction had added to her financial plight. She appealed to the police authorities to look into the matter so as to bring reprieve to ”many of her colleagues who are also affected”.
”It is not only me that is affected. I can count over 30 officers, mainly of junior rank who have been affected. Imagine someone earning a little over N40, 000 having N15, 000 deducted from his or her salary. I even know some senior officers who earn close to N100, 000 but are now recieving N40, 000 to N50, 000. We learnt that this new payment system (Integrated Personnel and Payment System) employed by the government is the reason for the anomaly. But we need explanations from our ‘ogas’. We also need to know if we will get the deductions paid back to us,” the officer, who asked not to be named said.
A female officer at the Force Headquarters also said her March salary was cut and even though she had laid a formal complaint, she is yet to get the funds back or any explanation.
Another police officer, who did not give her rank said though she was not affected, she knew at least five Inspectors who are affected by the deductions.
”I know at least five Inspectors who say that N27, 000 is being deducted from their salaries monthly. Of course we know there are some normal deductions like tax and pension which we are already used to and is known. But nobody seems to know what these new deductions are for. You need to to visit the pay office or Accountant General office to see police men and women with numerous complaints.”
The police officers also complained about the lateness in the payment of their monthly salaries, urging the authorities to look into the matter.
”Most times, we collect our salaries 10 to 15 days into a new month and this is not good enough. This is even worse when it there is a public holiday or festivities. The little we get paid needs to be given to us at least on time so as to dissuade us from engaging in corrupt acts,” one of the officers said.
Police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, has however explained the short payment of salaries as experienced by some of its personnel.
In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES, he confirmed the development but added that the issue is being treated appropriately.
He said the salaries for the months of February, March and April were particularly affected. He urged the officers affected to exercise patience as the matter would be resolved.
”The Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation has assured the Nigeria Police Force that salary short payment for police personnel for the month of April, 2018 was due to system error and is being promptly resolved. All other issues relating to payment of salary to Police personnel are being addressed. The affected personnel will according to OAGF get the salary differential paid on or before Monday, May 7th, 2018.
”Commissioners of Police and their supervising Assistant Inspectors General of Police in charge of State and Zonal Commands, and Heads of other formations and detachment in the Force have been directed by the Inspector General of Police to lecture and educate their personnel who have any complaint from payment of February, March and April 2018 Salary that their complaints are being rectified.
”Affected police personnel are enjoined not to panic as the Force is doing everything in conjunction with Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to ensure that all the identified problems in the payment of salary of Police personnel across the country are permanently resolved.”
In February, an Assistant Commissioner of Police and head of the Nigerian Police’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Abba Kyari, decried the poor funding of the force which he said had led to poor remuneration for its personnel.
Mr Kyari, famous for leading the team that arrested the alleged notorious kidnapper, Chukwudi Onuamadike, aka Evans, also said in the piece published by the Guardian that Nigerian police officers are poorly paid and only have access to “less than 20 per cent” of what they need to operate properly.
“Google and read about the funding of Nigeria Police and salaries, we physically get less than 20 per cent of what we need to operate properly,” Mr Kyari reportedly said in the comment section of a Facebook post he put up to mourn the death of a police sergeant who was killed by kidnappers.