Speaking on the relationship between the welfare of police officers and corruption in the system, a senior correspondent with Daily Trust Newspaper, Idowu Isamotu, accused officers at the top echelon of Nigeria Police Force (NPF) of driving corruption and impoverishing rank-and-file personnel.
Isamotu urged that there should be serious monitoring of allowances due to rank and file officers of the Force. He raised the alarm that some junior officers who participated in the 2023 general elections were yet to receive their allowances, noting that such a situation and other similar incidents affect the morale of junior officers and endear them to corrupt acts.
“The major problem responsible for the insufficient welfare of our police officers is actually corruption. Let’s just be realistic. A situation where the top hierarchy in the force is expected to manage mega resources meant for the junior officers, and such funds are embezzled by the top echelon in the force is a major problem.
“In some situations, some officers who are collecting a meagre amount, like sixty thousand, they are the ones protecting some people who are already rich enough. Meanwhile, we all know that salary is not enough, so we are trying to say that in other countries where we have these challenges, what they do is they look at even distribution of resources.
“The major problem Is corruption, so if we are able to mitigate the corrupt practices in the force, then we will actually get to where we are going. Making sure that the officers who are on the front line are catered for is the way to go,” Isamotu insisted.
A man who identified himself as Clement and a serving police officer phoned in during the radio programme and had these to say: “Police organization has made the junior ones be demoralized. I’m 15 years in service now, and I sew my uniforms, and I buy my shoes for myself because if I’m not well dressed, I will face disciplinary action. Our salaries make the members of the public look at us like we are just vigilantes.
“They don’t take care of us, and that is why we are having problems in the Nigeria Police Force, and that is why corruption is very rampant. Because it’s the same market that other individuals go to that we policemen go to, and if you look at the salary structure, it is nothing to write home about. Election allowance both for Presidential and Gubernatorial have not been paid,” He stressed.
Another caller (name withheld), who identified himself as police personnel, said,” It is our hierarchy that is killing us. We are ready to do the work, but they are not giving us our benefits. President Buhari added to our salaries for us. Six months’ arrears, they have not given us. They offered to others, but they didn’t provide for us. Is that not corruption? If they had given us our dues, we would be doing our best. Please help us to continue advocating,” He stated.
While on her part, Program Manager CLEEN Foundation, Chigozirim Okoro, revealed that the current police leadership is making a conscious effort to improve the welfare of police personnel through reforms. She noted that funding remains a challenge for the force, urging that the budgetary allocation of the Nigeria Police Force should be improved as it would directly impact the welfare of its personnel.
Okoro stated that previous police reform initiatives were faulty and not driven by police personnel themselves. She cautioned that ongoing reforms in the Police will not change the law enforcement body overnight.
“Budgetary allocation of the police is low, and It shows you that the value placed on the security institution as a nation is low. When you look at it vis-à-vis the kind of radical reforms that we want to happen, you’ll see that we have a very long way to go.
“Budget improvement will work fine as the police are underfunded,” Okoro advised.
Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio program used by PRIMORG to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.
The program has the support of the MacArthur Foundation.