Afe for Vanguard

August 24, 2022

Security of life and property: The Nigeria Police: Problems and challenges — Salaries and Remunerations (6)

Security of life and property: The Nigeria Police: Problems and challenges — Salaries and Remunerations (6)

By Aare Afe Babalola

IN this edition, I will start the examination of some of the problems and challenges facing Nigeria Police.

It is common knowledge that it is the duty of the Police to provide internal security and protect lives and properties of the citizens. In recent times, kidnapping, robbery attacks, killings, murders, rape, destruction of farms and properties have become rampant. The increased scale of crime is not only frightening and disturbing but seems to be overwhelming.

I recall a visit by a friend. I asked for his brother. He told me that he had “ja pa”. I thought what he meant was that the brother had died because I didn’t know what the word ja pa meant. After all, a man must keep on learning. The day a man stops learning, that day he is dead. I did not want to exhibit my ignorance, hence I did not ask for the meaning of ja pa. After his departure, I invited my Secretary who happens to be a bright and knowledgeable man to my office, I asked for the meaning of ja pa. He told me that it means that “one has migrated from Nigeria”. That was indeed an addition to my vocabulary. Truly, I have lost many members of my staff and I keep losing them regularly because of insecurity of lives and properties in the country.

In the last 90 years of my stay on this planet, apart from the early ’60s when there was Biafran war, life and properties in Nigeria have never been so much in danger. The security in the country has adversely effected virtually all facets of life. Unemployment is on the increase, innocent citizens are killed mercilessly, poverty is on the increase, the rich are gnashing their teeth, the police whose duty is to protect their lives and properties have lost their fear factor and respect. 

The problems facing the police include: poor welfare, poor salaries and remuneration, inadequate funding, inadequate equipment, negative image, lack of respect, corruption, inadequate number of police officers, legal/ establishment challenges, operational challenges and political challenges.

In this edition, I will examine the issue of salaries and remunerations for the police. 

What our police officers earn in Nigeria as salaries are nothing short of stipends. The salaries and emoluments of policemen in Nigeria are embarrassingly poor. It is highly discouraging. This singular factor, if the truth must be told, has robbed Nigeria of finest brains who would have easily opted for policing had the salary been made attractive. In sharp contrast to what obtains in Nigeria, policemen in Britain are well remunerated. This is aside the fact that graduates and well-educated people join the Force.

For example, a newly passed out police constable in Britain earns £25,221 per annum. This in effect means that while a police constable in Nigeria earns N84,000 per annum, his London counterpart earns N4.5 million per annum. This also means that while a police constable in Nigeria earns N9,076.00 per month, allowances inclusive, his British counterpart earns N375,000. This means that the Nigerian constable earns 1.8 per cent of salary of his British counterpart. This situation calls for a sympathetic consideration. 

In my view, not enough is being spent on policing in Nigeria. Some officers buy their own uniforms and allowances are paid very late, if at all. Former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, had argued that neither the funding of the capital projects of the police nor the overheads had risen beyond N11 billion between 2011 and 2015, compared to actual funding requirements of up to N71 billion for overheads and N345.7 billion for capital projects in the case of 2015.

Salaries and emolument of the Nigeria Police Force is not in tandem with the current economic reality, cost of living, transport fare and other essential needs of the personnel are very high in consonant with the present payment. 

Kenya: Persons working as a police officer in Kenya earns salaries ranging from ksh394,560 (minimum). Conversion to Naira equivalent is N1,382,686.53 minimum 

Ghana: In Ghana, according to salary explorer.com, police salary range from 1320GHS per month (minimum) to 4550GHS per month (maximum). Conversion to Naira equivalent is N809,770.58

USA: A person working as a police officer in the United States of America  receive from $559.702 minimum per annum. Conversion to Naira equivalent is N2,322,77.16. 

South Africa: The government pays her police officers in minimum, a sum of R102,600 per annum; this is for the least police officer. The equivalent of this 102,600R (South Africa Rand) in Naira is N2,498,589.08

To say that night security guards and drivers in my law office and even at my private residence earn far more than police sergeant in Nigeria should be a thing of serious concern to every sane Nigerian. Under the present discouraging atmosphere, there is no way Nigeria can have a fully committed and highly intelligent officer policing.

What is more, virtually all these poorly paid policemen have wives, children, dependants and aged parents, the feeding responsibility of which is heavily on their shoulders. And some policemen even have the additional task of funding the education of their younger brothers and sisters.

Again, in the United States of America, apart from the general earnings of the police, the Federal law provides for special salary rates for the benefit of federal employees who serve in law enforcement. In addition, the Federal Special Agents and Inspectors receive what is known as “law enforcement availability pay, LEAP” or “administratively uncontrolled overtime, AUO” which is equal to 25% of the agent’s grade and step mainly awarded because of the large amount of overtime that these agents are expected to work.

Compared with what operates in Nigeria, there is no doubting the fact that the above represents very tempting, mouthwatering financial incentives. Little wonder then that graduates and serious minded US citizens populate the police, while young Nigerian graduates are on ja pa to USA, Canada and Europe.

Gratitude: I appreciate the contributions of readers but due to lack of space, I publish one of the letters I read during the week. Thanks for your understanding.

Dear Baba Babalola,

I have just finished reading another insightful, educative and inspirational article you penned down in the newspaper: ‘CRIME PREVENTION BY THE POLICE’.

As rightly said, mistrust that exists between law enforcement officers and the populace is one the obstacles to prevent crimes in Nigeria. 

Other impediments to crime prevention are:

Involvement of highly placed and influential people in the society; bad eggs among the law enforcement officers; lack of transparency in the judicial system; total disconnection between the rich and the poor.

These, among others, are the reason for the collective failure of the intelligence information systems and crime prevention in the country.

The solution

Anonymous crime portal is the solution.

In addition to existing preventive measures, I have been running around to introduce the anonymous crime report portal I established to the government, I sent letters to DSS, Nigeria   Police, NSA Office and Attorney General of the Federation, all to no avail.

Please, create time to visit the website: www.terminatecrime.com

And if you will give me audience, I will practically reveal to you how to stop most of these crimes: kidnapping, oil theft, human trafficking, terrorism, etc.

Thank you for reading this letter.

Your son,

Olamide OLAJOBI”.