Some Junior police officers in Nigeria have on Friday declared that they will commence an industrial action on March 26, SaharaReporters reports.
This was made known in an open letter addressed to the Inspector General of Police, in which they noted that they would not accept any pay rise below N100,000 monthly.
Police authorities had earlier said that the stories about an impending strike by junior police officers were fake.
However, the police wireless message titled ‘Purported strike by members of rank and file,’ noted an impending strike action by the junior officers over the non-implementation of the new police salary structure, failure in providing “sophisticated weapons” to fight crime, and poor general welfare of police officers.
The document said the Inspector-General of Police had since directed the immediate computation of salaries under the new structure and tax relief/exemption for officers for immediate implementation.
It further said that the distribution of kits and other accoutrements had been initiated and concluded by the Force Headquarters.
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.
They also lamented 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, has 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.
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.”
It was 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 members of the Force not to go for duty on the day, asking those attached to politicians to stay at home.