Junior members of the Nigerian Police Force have threatened to drop their guns and batons in protest over unpaid salaries. This is coming at a time of heightened insecurity in the country.
Junior officers from the Lagos State Police Command spoke to journalists under the condition of anonymity about the unpalatable situation they are faced with .
“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,” one junior officer lamented.
“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, said, “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.”
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 bread winner 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.
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.