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6 Months Of Unpaid Entitlement: How Kwara Police Constabularies Languish In Despair

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By SULAIMAN, Abdulwaheed Olamilekan

Mrs Aregbesola Jumoke, a nursing mother, holds Higher National Diploma in Mass Communication at the Osun State Polytechnic Iree. She was an hair dresser in Kwara before securing the Special Police Constabulary job in April. She was excited after a month of training at the Police Training School in Ilorin prompting her to renege on her former side hustle (hair making). She lost her hair making saloon at the behest of her constabulary job.

Jumoke is one of the officers of the Special Police Constabularies, a security initiative which co-founded by Federal/State govt in April following the recommendation of state police as solution to the security challenges facing the country.

She recounted, with deep anguish, how the refusal of the government to pay her salary has badly affected her and her family.

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“I’m in a pathetic mood, I’m a nursing mother, my daughter is just growing up. For me, working without salary has badly affected my family. I hardly get help from my friends because they belief I’ve a job. It’s been six months of work without pay and when we run to our boss at the top, they have no answer to give us,” she narrated.

Six months after the establishment of the ‘nationwide community security initiative’, named Police Special Constabularies, in Kwara, officers of the team have expressed their plights over the non-payment of their monthly entitlement (salaries) by the state government.

While the Kwara State Government sponsored fifty (50) persons per local government, the Federal Government sponsored sixteen (16) persons from each local government area of the state, totalling one thousand and fifty six (1,056) persons, which was considered the highest sponsored among the states of the Federation, all together.

Speaking on their contributions since recruitment, Mrs Jumoke disclosed that the officers of the Police Special Constabularies have been helping the conventional police in the areas of special duties, night patrols and lots more, adding that those efforts are aimed at complementing the efforts of the Nigerian Police Force in order to burst criminal networks before they carry out their unlawful activities in the state.

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“As I am talking to you now, I’ve resumed to duty again for today. I was posted to the crime office in one of the divisions. We’re working diligently in line with the training we had during the training exercise and so far, we have been helping the Nigerian Police in terms of special duties, night patrols and many more but when it gets to money, they’ll say we’re community Police. We were never told we won’t be getting paid.”

When asked if she has another business apart from the community policing job, she said, “before I applied for the job, someone told me the job wouldn’t affect my hair making business, because I’d not wanted to join. I was told I’ll be coming twice in a week to report to the police of any atrocities and crimes within my community but now things have totally changed, what I was told is not what I met. Now, I’m working fully as a police officer and almost work through the night every day.

“At least, before I got the constable job, I’ve a saloon and have my customers intact but since I got the job, I lost it all because I’ve to resume at work by 8am and leave around 6pm in the evening. Sometimes a call to night duty,”she added.

More tales of agonies and sufferings

Information gathered by THE ELITES WATCH reporter revealed that there have been agonies and sufferings among the officers of the Police Constabularies across the nation particularly in Kwara State.

In a chat with the Spokesperson of the Police Constabularies in Kwara, SCP Ahmed Abubakar, he recounted on the hardship he and his colleagues have been facing since their recruitment appealing to come to their aids.

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“As a family man, living for months without earnings or allowances has not been easy for me. I’ve a wife and siblings to cater for but where’s the money to do that. infact, majority of us are suffering. Hmmmm…. three square meals were reduced to anything goes.

“Alots have been going through my mind for the past five months of working as a police Constabularies, we had one month for training which makes it six months. I can say, for me, borrowing has been the order of the day to be able to meet up with my daily commitments. Majority of us spend nothing less than #300 daily for feeding and transportation to work and we have to resume to work from 8am till 6pm. At least before I got this job, I was doing landscaping but now I’ve lost all my clients,”he lamented.

“Our families see us as a working class but finds it hard to belief we aren’t getting paid, not even a stipend as an allowance not to talk of our entitlements.

“At a time, I depend solely on the token my division DPO do give to us from his pocket. And the borrowing from friends continue, hoping we will be paid one day.”

When asked about the successes of the Constabularies since their graduation, Abubakar said they have been filling the gap of shortage of man power in the police force in the state.

“At least, before our recruitment, there have been shortage of man power in the police and to the Glory of God, we’ve been able to fill those gaps.

“For us, our primary assignment is to help gather timely intelligence report from our domain and get them across to the conventional police which we’ve all been doing in good faith. I can boldly say that we’ve been contributing greatly to the security architecture plan of Kwara state. Our boss in the convention police always give credence to us when necessary. At least, in Ilorin South LG and I can tell you how the security situation was and what it is now.”

The Creation

On August 25, 2020, Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq inaugurated the state Community Policing Advisory Committee (CPAC) to announce the commencement of the initiative in the state. In his inaugural speech, He said in February of the year(2020), his administration held a multi-stakeholder security dialogue where he noted that recommendations from the dialogue shaped his approach to security issues, adding that the advisory committee will serve as another platform to engage local communities on matters of safety in the state.

AbdulRazaq then assured members of the committee of his cooperation and support to make the takeoff of community policing a huge success in Kwara State. He said the security team will constantly engage with the Advisory Committee to strengthen cooperation with the Kwara communities to build mutual trust and create an environment that is hostile to crimes.

The State Advisory Committee had the Head of the State Traditional Council as (Chairman); the then police commissioner (Co-chairman); heads of the various security agencies in the states; heads of Police Community Relations Committee; representatives of each senatorial district; and a representative each of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

The formation of Community Policing is a mundane proposal by the then Inspector General of Police, Adamu Mohammed following the recommendation of state police as panacea to the security challenges in the country.

The Launch

Kwara, like other states in the country, received accolades from various quarters over the impressive numbers of Constabularies sponsored by the state government.

On May 4, 2021, Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, at the passing out ceremony of the recruited special police Constabularies (community Police) was applauded for sponsoring the highest number of Police Constabularies in the nationwide Initiative.

“With your graduation today, you are fitting into the security architecture, linking the entire population with your communities and remain the core professionals in the police force by ensuring that the right information or intelligence is passed through. Your presence will give confidence to the people in your communities and the state at large to make sure the environment is peaceful,” AbdulRazaq said.

For his part, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, who was represented by the then Kwara State Police Commissioner Mohammed Bagega, explained that the initiative was intended to enhance the fight against crime. He stressed the important role intelligence gathering plays in checking crimes, while restating that the IGP, through the police service commission, wished to reinforce the fight against crimes through intelligence-led policing.

“Therefore, we need information and these people after graduation will be posted back to their respective communities,” he added.

“We have 1,056 trainees who have successfully undergone police training in the prestigious training school located in Ilorin. I want to thank Governor AbdulRazaq for his unending support to the Police and for making the training of the first batch of special constabulary candidates in Kwara State a reality. I want to also appreciate the community policing advisory committee for the wonderful jobs they have been performing in the state,” according to Baba, who was represented by Bagega.

While the Kwara State Government sponsored fifty (50) persons per local government, the Federal Government sponsored sixteen (16) persons from each local government area of the state, totalling one thousand and fifty six (1,056) persons, which was considered the highest sponsored among the states of the Federation, all together.

President Buhari approved N13billion for take-off, NEC gave nod

To confront the rising insecurity, the National Economic Council (NEC) presided by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, met at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, in August 2020, to address the worsening security challenges and other issues of national importance; they okayed the sum of N13 billion cash approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for the Community Policing take off.

Arising from the NEC’s sixth meeting, which was virtual, Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule announced the approval of the sum of N13 billion cash by the President which he said the decision was taken after a report submitted by the adhoc committee on security and policing, headed by Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi.

Gov. Sule said: “Council resolved that the chair of the NGF (Nigeria Governors’ Forum) with two other governors would meet with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Finance Minister and the Inspector-General of Police to co-ordinate the proper utilisation of the N13 billion funding of community policing in the states.

“State governments have been overwhelmed by insecurity expenditures and there is the need by the federal government to inject more funds to augment expenses by the states, among others,”Sule added.

The ad-hoc panel, according to him, met on August 4, 2020, to review the growing security challenges in the country and other issues of great importance. At the meeting, the governors also requested for more funding for states and the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to enable them to meet security obligations.

Controversy, Commendation and Pleas

In another interview with this reporter, Shuaibu expressed worries concerning the words of the new IGP which he said has engraved great fears and concern in their hearts.

He said the new IGP, Usman Alkali Baba during his one-day visit to Katsina reportedly revealed that the job is a voluntary one and not payment bound. He noted that this has created fears and concerns in his hearts and that of his colleagues.

“Yes, we’ve been enjoying our work as an intelligence gathering officers in charge of our various communities. We gathered first hand security information in our domain and forward it to the convention police for action. I must say we’ve achieved a wonderful feat within the short period of our recruitment. It’s been six months now that our payment has not been coming as promised, but it come to our dismay that the new IGP, Usman Alkali Baba was reported to have said during his one-day visit to Katsina that our job is a voluntary service and not payment bound.”

Shuaibu, happily married in October, 2019 with no kid yet, hailed from Kaiama local government in Kwara North. A graduate of Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, holds bachelor degree in Education and Economics. He earlier obtained his National Certificate of Education in Political Science and Social studies at the Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin between 2006-2009.

He is the G-one (General Number One) of the Special Constabulary Police, Kwara Command. Prior to his appointment as a Special Police Constabulary, he worked as Economics teacher at Kunfayakun Islamic College, Kaiama.

“Let me on behalf of my colleagues appreciate Mr. President, General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR through the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba for the approval of the Special Constabulary Police. In the same vein, we must commend the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for sponsoring the highest number of constabulary which is unprecedented in the country.”

When asked about his former job, Shuaibu explained that he resigned to give full attention to the Constabulary job and has been spending nothing less than N400 per day to transport himself to his community division.

He furthered that majority of his colleagues have quitted their other means of income upon securing the appointment pleading the government to pay their monthly entitlement.

“Since I got the Constabulary job, I resigned from my former place of work and since hoped to be retained moving forward due to the passion I have for the police job. Over the time, I spend nothing less than N400 daily for transportation from my division back to my home.

“I must tell you this, Majority of my colleagues have equally quitted their former jobs. As you may be aware, I’m the head of the community police in Kwara. Majority of us hoped we’ll be absorbed into the conventional police as time goes by but the rest they say is fast becoming a History now.

“However, We’re appealing to the Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to come to our aid by paying the salary backlogs of our officers and clearly stated to us the terms of our recruitment. Also, we’re sounding our plea to Mr. President to fulfil his own part of the agreement which indicates the unpaid monthly payment of six months for the 256 officers sponsored in Kwara.

SDG’s viewpoint

An excerpt from a research work by Ojelade Aminat Oluwakemi MC/HND/F18/1664, “For example, that despite many critiques of narrow economic measures of growth, the focus here remains on GDP and per capita growth. This is problematic, we argue, because, the GDP productive boundary excludes much of social reproductive work. This puts SDG 8 in tension with SDG 5 which calls for the recognition of the value of unpaid care and domestic work. There has been a significant increase in the rate of working women in the formal and informal sector.”

According to the Sustainable Development Goal 8 which aims to “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”. This goal reaffirms the mutually supportive relationship between economic and social policies, full employment and decent work while ensuring the economic sector of every country provides the necessary need for its citizen to have a good life irrespective of their background, race or culture.

As it highlights the importance of labour rights for all, it also make visible some significant tensions.

This correlates with the situation of Special Police Constabularies in Kwara whose labour rights have been denied since April, 2021 amidst heightened hope of getting their jobs retained when recruited.

Kwara State Governor failed to talk

When contacted for comment, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s spokesperson, Rafiu Ajakaye, did not answer his calls and text messages sent to his phone.

‘I don’t have any Comment’, says Kwara Police

Reacting to this development, The Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Police Force, Kwara Command, Ajayi Okasanmi said, “I don’t have any comments on the matter in view please.”

BlazeNewz Disclaimer

The information contained in this post is for general information purposes only. Opinion articles, comments are solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of BlazeNewz while we endeavour to keep the information accurate with objectivity as we adhere to global practice of journalism. Read our full Disclaimer.

Hammed Tajudeen is the editor in-chief of Blaze News, holds Higher National Diploma(HND) in Mass Communication, graduated from Osun State Polytechnic, Iree.

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