Despite the assurances given by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Suleiman Abba, that the Force hierarchy is working with relevant government departments and agencies to effect the payment of the promotion arrears of all the newly promoted officers, the aggrieved police officers have insisted that there is no going back on their planned strike on March 28.
This, therefore, means that if adequate measures are not put in place to appease or meet the demands of the aggrieved police officers, the presidential election scheduled for March 28 will suffer set back.
Speaking with Daily Independent in Abuja on Monday, a Police Inspector, who is among the aggrieved officers, who pleaded not to be named for fear of victimisation, said: “The planned strike is a welcome development and most of us are in support it because the issue of the unpaid arrears and allowances is long overdue.
“All of us that were promoted last year, we have not received our allowances up till now. It is a clear issue of negligence because since last year that we were promoted, no allowances and even the promotion increment have not been paid. That is why we have to take our destiny in our hands,” he said
When asked who are the key people are that championing the strike, he said: “I personally don’t know them, but since the issue came up in the media, all of us are in support of it and we are fully ready to go on strike if our demands are not met before that date.”
When reminded by Daily Independent that police regulation did not give room for strike and the consequences such action will attract, the police Inspector said: “We know all of this, but if most of us go on strike, who will they sack and leave who? Or can they sack all of us at the same time?
“This is very painful. We have to embark on this dangerous action because we don’t trust that the IG will pay us our entitlements in the near future.
“Many of our colleagues, in fact close to 300 of them retired last year without being paid their promotion entitlements which has was there for over a year.”
It would however be recalled that on February 19, the IGP while reacting to a story of the planned strike by the aggrieved officers in a statement signed by the Force spokesman, Emmanuel Ojukwu, said: “At the outset, it is pertinent to state that, the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force is mindful of its responsibility towards the welfare of the workforce; part of which is promotion and recognition of hard work.
“As is expected, every promotion attracts some financial benefits, and which have been deeply considered in the course of processing and approving the promotions.
“For the avoidance of doubt the Nigeria Police Force is working assiduously with relevant government departments and agencies to effect the payment of the promotion arrears. Meanwhile, all promoted officers have since January 2015 been enjoying the salaries attendant on their new ranks.
“It needs be stated for the umpteenth time that the Nigeria Police Force is founded on the bedrock of discipline and loyalty. The Police Regulation has provided enough windows for aggrieved officers to ventilate their grievances.
“As such, the IGP is miffed that officers have to recourse to unapproved channels to air their perceived grievances.
“The IGP therefore warns such officers of the dire consequences of breaching extant rules and regulations.”