BY KINGSLEY OMONOBI, Abuja
There is tension among Nigerian security agencies following dangerous signals emitting particularly from military and paramilitary services over the non-payment of salaries of armed forces and Police personnel by the various organs responsible for such payments.
Saturday Vanguard gathered that the non payment of October salary by military authorities, the Police and some Para-military organisations, is giving the top hierarchy of these organisations, particularly those of the armed forces, sleepless nights as hungry and angry military personnel may become difficult to control.
Originally, the Nigerian Army and other military establishments pay the salaries and allowances of personnel between the 20th and 22nd of every month and the ability of Unit and Formation Commanders to order troops or their equivalent for deployments particularly in internal security operations is largely hinged on the fact that the home front is secured financially.
Saturday Vanguard recalls that instances abound when soldiers either shot their Commanders over issues of payment of allowances or went on civil violent protests on suspicion of any double deals when it concerns payment of salaries and allowances. The recent Akure riots over peacekeeping allowances are still fresh in the nation’s memory.
Already, some security personnel are questioning the rationale for non payment or delay in the payment of the salary, wondering why a system they are used to should suddenly change and the authorities are making no effort to explain what is going on.
The security personnel blamed the delay in payment on the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance due to certain checks and balances ordered by the finance ministry in line with probity and accountability of the minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala.
Already, amidst complaints from officers and men of the Nigeria Police force over the delay in the payment of their October Salary and allowances, Inspector General of Police Hafiz Ringim at the weekend advised those pointing accusing fingers on the Police Management team and the Police ministry for the delay, to look elsewhere as the force has done its own bit towards payment.
Originally, Police authorities compute the payment of salaries and allowances and pat through e-payment between the 20th and 22nd of every month. Some personnel had started insinuating that the salaries were being kept to generate interest for the big men.
However, a statement giving the true explanation and signed by Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Olusola Amore said “The Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Abubakar Ringim, wishes to clear the air on the delay of payment of October salary to the officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force.
“The delay is as a result of inability of the Clearing Bank to credit the account of Police paying commercial Banks which is urgently being addressed and will be rectified soon”.
“The IGP has taken affirmative steps to resolve the delay and appeals to officers and men of the Nigeria Police to remain calm and focused in the performance of their duties.
“The IGP is using this medium to reassure the entire officers and men of the Force that this delay does not emanate from either the Force Headquarters or Police Affairs Ministry as is being speculated.
“It is entirely dependent upon the actions of the disbursing authorities. The salary will be paid as soon as the problems are fully tackled.”