For delaying the payment of their January salary, junior officers in the Nigeria Police have threatened to embark on strike. Most of the junior officers from the Lagos State Police Command said they are embarking on strike anytime next week to force the authorities to pay their salaries.
"We are going to drop our guns and batons next week if the government fails to pay our salaries," a junior officer at the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID,said.
The officer decried a situation where salaries of law enforcement officers will be delayed by the government knowing full well that they face a lot of temptations in the performance of their duties. Investigations revealed that the threat to embark on strike by junior officers did not start now but the police authorities have been managing the situation. "The situation is getting worse. Many of us are finding it difficult to pay our bills. We can’t pay our children’s school fees as a result of the delay in the payment of our salaries," the junior officer lamented.
Further investigations revealed that many of the officers have children in higher institutions and they have been putting pressure on their parents to pay their school fees. "Many of us have more than one wife and many children to cater for. Our children’s school fees have been increased and the salary remains the same. Do you know that some secondary schools are charging fees higher than some tertiary institutions? And for each child, I pay nothing less than N80,000 per term. I have five children in different private schools," a deputy superintendent of police, DSP, at the Command’s headquarters on Oba Akinjobi Road, Ikeja, lamented.
A junior officer at Oduduwa Crescent where MOPOL 20 is based, also lamented the late payment of salaries of policemen, saying it has the tendency of killing morale of policemen. "I have three children in the university, two are in private secondary schools preparing to write their senior secondary school certificate examination, SSCE. If my salary is not paid on time, where do I get the money to pay? I can’t go and rob," he said. A police constable at the SARS, Ikeja also lamented: "I joined the police four years ago. I have two children schooling at the Police Staff Children School here in Ikeja with high school fees. I am the breadwinner of my family but now that my salary is not paid, how do I pay my children’s school fees? Also, there is a particular drug my mother is using and it is very costly. How do I buy this drug for her now that I don’t know when I will be paid? If the strike is real, I’m ready to join them. If the strike will make government pay our salaries, then I will join them," he stated.
On what could be responsible for the delay in the payment of salaries of policemen, an Inspector at the Police Traffic Division in Agege volunteered: "Maybe they want to use our salaries to renovate the dilapidated Police College as exposed by a television station recently." A police Sergeant at the same department blamed the authorities for the contempt with which an average policeman is held by the public: "They don’t want us to collect bribe and they are still holding on to our salaries, what do they want us to live on? We have been saving peoples’ lives but they are not taking care of us. This is a fight we must fight," he said. When contacted, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP , said: "I’m not aware of any impending strike within the force."