Thursday, July 5, 2018 10:10 pm
The House of Representatives has announced that it would investigate the circumstances surrounding the protest by some policemen in Maiduguri on Monday.
This was sequel to a motion on Urgent Public Importance by Rep. Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers), which was unanimously adopted by the members.
Moving the motion, Chinda said that the security challenges in the country, particularly in Borno, necessitated the deployment of additional security personnel to beef up security in the area.
He said that the protest which was believed to have been carried out by some mobile policemen, did not only cause traffic grid, but also affected economic and social activities of the city.
Chinda said that the protest, which witnessed the chanting of songs and gun shots into the air, was carried out due to non-payment of six months special duty allowances to the policemen.
According to him, provision of Section 14(2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) states that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.
He said that there was an annual allocation for payment of salaries and allowances made to the Police Service Commission, including those on special duties or assignments.
The legislator said that the argument by Police authorities that the men were being owed because the 2018 Appropriation Bill was signed into law only recently “did not hold water’’.
He explained that salaries and allowances were recurrent expenditures which were still effective and running from the 2017 Appropriation Law.
Chinda said that police, who ordinarily should provide security for the citizens, openly protested and left the people they should secure in great fear and entirely at their mercy, was a shame.
He said that if the issue was not immediately checked, it could lead to anarchy, cause despondency in the minds of people and negatively affect society.
The parliamentarian said that the protest clearly represented failure of public institutions, including the Police.
He said the incident had negatively affected and reduced the image and reputation of the Police and the country before the international community.
The Minority Whip, Rep. Yakubu Barde (PDP-Kaduna), reminded his colleagues that both chambers of the National Assembly had passed vote-of-no-confidence on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP).
He said that the protest was another vote-of-no-confidence on the IGP by his subordinates.
Barde expressed fear that one day, the IGP would send men of the force on special duties and they would refuse, “leaving Nigerians on their own’’.
He said that anarchy loomed, recalling that some military officers once turned against their superiors for sending them to battle front without adequate provisions.
The legislator, therefore, said that a committee must be set up to determine what the money meant for officers` welfare was used for.
He said that no fewer than seven police officers were on Tuesday killed in Abuja, adding that the House must protect the young officers and speak for them.
Rep. Nkem Abonta (PDP-Abuja) described the protest as a show of shame, and urged the lawmakers to act fast to find out the remote and immediate causes of the protest.
Abonta said that the protest was an indicator that there was no security anywhere in the country and that the ad hoc committee to be set up be made to start work immediately.
He said that if security issues in the country were not addressed, Nigerians would remain in danger.
On his part, Rep. Abubakar Danbaran (APC-Kano) described the police protest as “unfortunate’’ and that such had never happened in the history of the country.
He recalled that a police officer recently shot a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member in Abuja, saying that if armed men were not paid, they could do anything.
Danbaran said that it was not good to send police officers to war fronts and neglect their welfare.
He said that the Federal Government owed every Nigerian the duty to ensure that justice was given to all.
After the debate, the members resolved to constitute an Ad hoc Committee to investigate the incident.
In his remarks, Speaker of the house, Mr Yakubu Dogara, said that the committee, when constituted, would need two weeks to carry out the assignment.