Despite efforts by the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba to dissuade junior police officers from embarking on strike, the cops have said there is no going back on the planned industrial action.
The junior officers said the strike would commence on March 26, the same day chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) would gather in Abuja for their national convention.
According to an open letter addressed to the Inspector General, the men said they would not accept any pay rise below N100,000 monthly.
They decried the fact that a Level 3 officer of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) reportedly receives N280,000 monthly, while a 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.
The rank and file wondered why they were being treated like slaves, even when they protect other people’s lives, with their own lives.
The strike, which they said was long overdue, had now become an option due to what they called the “lackadaisical attitude of the police authorities in representing us before the Federal Government.”
While accepting the fact that the Nigeria Police Force is a regimental organisation whose personnel could be accused of mutiny if they embark on any industrial action, the cops 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.”
VYBEZ TV recalls that the IGP, as a way of stopping the planned strike, ordered the implementation of the new salary structure for officers, the stoppage of tax for policemen, the distribution of accoutrements and others.
However, the rank and file said they have seen the signal, but added, “it’s unfortunate, we don’t believe your story on the salary increment; ‘no be today’.
“We believe in industrial action as the way forward to our problems and the only solution to our yearnings.
“Therefore, we are still interested in embarking on the planned strike on the 26th of March, 2022 as earlier scheduled.”
VYBEZ TV reliably gathered that there were briefings in almost all the 36 State commands on Thursday as police bosses pacified the rank and file not to go on strike.
Meanwhile, an activist, Deji Adeyanju, has promised to join the police in solidarity if they go on strike.
Adeyanju, in a post on his verified Facebook page, said security agents in Nigeria deserve better pay and treatment.
“I will be joining the Nigerian police in their strike action. Our security agents deserve better pay and treatment. Solidarity forever,” he said.
Our correspondent gathered that a message circulating among the cops is mobilising them 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.