Following plans by personnel of the Nigeria Police Force to embark on an industrial action, the presidency has warned the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Usman Baba, that it would not tolerate such act.
But in a move to assuage the feelings of the police officers, the IGP has assured that the contentious salary increment, the bone of contention, announced by the federal government some months ago, would be paid with March salary.
However, the personnel spearheading the planned industrial action THISDAY learnt has vowed to proceed with the exercise slated for March 26.
THISDAY gathered that the IGP was summoned to the Presidential Villa where he was told that government cannot afford a police strike.
He was told to take all necessary steps to ensure that it does not take place.
“It was made clear to him that government would not tolerate an industrial action by a law enforcement agency and he knows the implications,” a presidency source said.
“Government has already made a commitment to that effect (salary increment) and it is being worked out. So he needs to coordinate his men and ensure that they do not carry it (strike) out,” the source added.
THISDAY further gathered that beyond the statement issued by Force Headquarters last week, warning personnel that embarking on strike amounted to mutiny, the IGP had made frantic efforts to liaise with relevant government agencies to ensure that the salary increment promised by government takes effect from March. He had also instructed Commissioners of Police to ensure that no strike action is entertained in their various commands.
“The IG is working to ensure that the salary increment is paid with March salary,” a police source told THISDAY.
THISDAY further learnt that the planners of the strike action are insistent that the strike must go on as planned.
“That statement (IG’s) is not for us. The senior officers are enjoying. We, the junior officers are in very bad shape.
“As we said, they (government) are lying. They summoned him (IG) to the villa and complained about it and told him to implement it but on that issue we know they will not implement it.
“The (strike) action will go on as planned”, a source familiar with the strike action said.
Following reports of an impending strike by personnel of the Nigerian Police, the IGP warned officers and men of the force that a strike action by a lead security agency such as the police was tantamount to mutiny.
“It is pertinent to restate that the Nigeria Police Force is a regimented and disciplined organisation with laid down rules and guidelines for addressing grievances and in no circumstance is a strike action one of such means.
“The men and women of the Nigeria Police Force are fully aware that a strike action or other deliberate disruption of law enforcement services by any security organisation is mutinous and the personnel of the force would not degenerate at any point to that level of disloyalty and indiscipline, as policing services are paramount and essential in the maintenance of orderliness and peace in the nation”, it said.
A statement signed by Acting Force Public Relations Officer and Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Mr. Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said government and police authorities were working to accelerate the full implementation of increment of salaries and allowances proposed by the president.
“It is pertinent to emphasise that the IGP is accelerating efforts to ensure the full implementation of the increment of salaries and allowances proposed by the President and approved by the Federal Executive Council.
“It is important to accentuate that it was the president’s initiative without any demand from the police to direct the process of increasing salaries and allowances. “The federal government is therefore fully committed to the implementation of the new salary package”, it said.
“Since that approval, the Salaries and Wages Commission has issued an implementation circular, the Minister of Police Affairs and the IGP have been working with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to ensure the stoppage of tax deductions as directed by the President and approved by the Federal Executive Council,” it added.
The statement was in reaction to a letter written to the IGP last week by aggrieved police officers.
In a letter written to the IG, the unidentified police officers had said they would embark on the warning strike to protest poor working conditions, poor salaries, lack of genuine welfare benefits and outdated weapons.
The police officers are also protesting the continuous killing of their colleagues by armed robbers and terrorists, without adequate compensation for their families.
The aggrieved police officers accused the federal government of lying about the increment of police salary and other promised benefits and demanded improved conditions of service, particularly salary increase and provision of modern weapons as they tackle the security challenges facing the country.
The letter reads: “The Nigeria government lied about the increment of police salary on March 10, 2022. It has been observed with utmost dissatisfaction how the federal government and the Minister of Police Affairs lied to the general public about the increment of our salaries.
“It has always been discussed on every occasion that the increment would be done since the incident of the #EndSARS protest that led to the loss of many lives of the men of the force.
“More so, it has been observed by the men of the force that there’s nothing good the federal government would do for the police, because they had already made an announcement that they have increased our salary which is not true.
“With the lackadaisical attitude of the government and the Ministry of Police Affairs, it shows that there was nothing like a salary increment.
“We deserve to be treated with respect by the government as we protect almost every political personality. We are treated like slaves despite our contribution to national development.
“We don’t have good salaries and our gratuities are very poor compared to what is obtainable in other parts of the world.”