By; ADEBAYO MASHOOD
Prior to the time Baba Alkali Usman was made the Inspector General of Police, President Muhammadu Buhari had
On so many occasions, IGP Baba has urged Police officers to keep hope alive over salary increment, what this implies is that the issue of salary increase is on the front burner in the IGP’s agenda. He took that demand and pressure to the National Assembly and has pursued it with success.
When he went to Benin, the Edo state Capital last year, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Baba Alkali Usman told officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force to keep their hope alive over the proposed review of salaries, saying though delayed but it would be materialized.
He assured: “I want you to take your job very seriously because we are going to work hard to improve on our welfare.
“We are living witness that the Commander in Chief of Armed Forces has graciously asked the salary of the police be reviewed even though it is taking time, it will certainly come.”
The Inspector-General advised policemen not to be discouraged as the pay rise will surely happen.
The issue of salary increase for the men and officers of the force, as he continue to admonish the personnel while working round the clock and behind the scene to see that it was done.
Again while talking while reeling out the his achievements to journalists at the Presidential Villa last, the IGP reiterated the effort of the President, Muhammadu Buhari in seeing that Police Salary is increase as the IGP reechoed again to them that the Salaries and Wages Commission is working out a new salary structure for the NPF as directed by the President, His Excellency Mohammadu Buhari, GCFR.
Yet in another remarks, while addressing the Delta State Police Command, on a visit, there said; the IGP assured officers and men of the command that the police under his leadership is doing all within its powers to boost the morale of the men in terms of better welfare and also assured all that a better insurance scheme is on top gear, adding that the welfare of officers is a priority to his administration.
Indeed all through the while, the issue of Police Salary increase has been a top burner before IGP Alkali, his effort in lobbying the National Assembly and the Presidency which culminated in its subsequent approval by the Federal Executive Council, shows that he is not resting, as he is working hard to make sure that the Police rank and file receives their new salary increase as soon as possible.
Even as it is, one may say that he is not the one causing the delay of the payment of the new salary increase , but the truth is that he at the moment working round the clock and working behind the scene to make sure that those concerned have finish all thr official formalities and releases the money for the payment of the new salaries to Police Officers. The IGP it should be noted has no power over official processes that is needed and being done at the moment to ensure the increase takes effect.
However, after much lobbying by IGP Akali, his effort paid off, as in December 2021, the Federal Executive Council approved the Police Salary increase by 20 percent and which will take effect from January this year 2022. It is the delay in effecting the payment that others wants to take advantage to sabotage the peace and security of the nation. If IGP Alkali had been reluctant and failed to pursue it the manner he vigorously did, the good story of the approval of the salary increase and even expectations of commencement of payment of the new package wouldn’t have arisen.
Just like Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, said in his article which he titled: ‘Buhari’s Christmas Bonus for Police,’ it was indeed a Christmas Bonus for the Police, which the IGP Alkali was behind it.
The Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, made this known to State House correspondents at the end of the Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, major highlight of the increase is the provision of a 20 per cent peculiar allowance for the police.
He said: “I am particularly very happy today to inform Nigerians that the Federal Executive Council has approved the review and upgrading of the take home pay of police personnel in this country.
“You recall that in Oct. 2020 this country was rocked with End SARS protests and the president addressed the nation appealing for calm, after which he promised that the salary of the police will be reviewed in recognition of the services they have been rendering to the country – maintaining peace and tranquility.
“So, FEC has today approved a proposal for the review of their salaries, which will take effect from January 2022.
“We have tried to create a situation where their take home pay will be enhanced through the improvement of issues such as duty tour allowance, which has been reviewed to six per cent of their new take home pay,” he stated.
The minister also revealed that the Council approved N1.1billion for the payment of outstanding uninsured benefits of the police.
“Council has also approved the payment of N1,120, 172,150.00 as outstanding benefits of personnel for uninsured period of 2013-2020.
“It has also approved N127,972,269.20 for payment as outstanding death benefits of 5,472 personnel for the uninsured period of 2013-August 2021, not covered under the group life assurance.
“Council has also approved N1.2 billion as outstanding burial expenses of personnel for a period of January 2012-2021,’’ he said.
According to the minister, the Council also approved the annual insurance premiums of N750 million as well as the payment of N4, 812,500,000 for repairs and replacement of damaged Police infrastructure in future budgets, starting from 2022.
He said the Council also approved a tax waver in the sum of N18.6 billion for junior officers of the Police in order to increase their take home pay with effect from Oct. 2021.
“Similarly government has approved an increase of the current rent subsidy, which is currently between 15-20 percent, amounting to N61 billion.
“With the increase, it is now 40 percent of the Consolidate Police Salary Structure (CONPOSS), in the sum of N78.3 billion.
“It has also approved payment of an additional six per cent shift duty allowance for officers on Grade Level 01-14 and supervisors allowances for officers on Grade Level 15 and above, totalling about N10.038 billion with effect from 2022.
“Most importantly, government has also approved payment of 20 per cent of CONPOSS as a peculiar allowance to boost morale and take home pay of the Nigeria Police personnel,” he said.
The minister stated that the Auditor General of the Federation had been directed to cross check the template and claims approved by Council, after which a clean salary structure would be computed and introduced by the Salaries and Wages Commission, which would be adopted as soon as possible.
He said with the new development, government would expect the police to redouble their efforts to justify the confidence reposed in them.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, who fielded questions on the salary increase, revealed that the increment was not captured in the 2022 budget. Perhaps that explains the little delay behind the commencement of full implementation.
She, however, stated that after computations and approval, a supplementary budget would be sent to the National Assembly to that effect, to pave way for the payment of arrears and full implementation of the new salary.
With the approval for the salary increase, indeed the IGP struck gold, made available by his strong efforts.
PROBLEMS OF OFFICERS AND MEN PREDATES THE APPOINTMENT OF IGP ALKALI
Majority of things stated in the report published by some national dallies and online medium which include morale of police officers said to be at a low ebb, with many grumbling about poor salaries, a lack of genuine welfare benefits and outdated weapons, are things that are already being taken care of by the IGP, or/and currently being given necessary attention by IGP Alkali. Nigerians are very much aware about the kind of leadership offered in the past that has failed to address critical issues related to police welfare and provision of arms and facilities. Unknown to many, under IGP Alkali and for the first time in many years the Police is now being supplied with armoury and other latest policing devices. This milestone will soon be demonstrated to Nigerians to appreciate the President for supporting the IGP to perform.
Take on the issue of welfare benefits for instance, the Inspector General of Police has since assumption of office made the welfare of the Police his paramount and key issue.
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, recently ordered the immediate distribution of Police Uniforms, Kits and accoutrements which the Force recently procured, to various Zones, Commands and Formations in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) for onward issuance to personnel of the Force. Before now, Police officers are very much aware that they used to buy their uniforms themselves even as there is supposed to be provisions for them.
According to the Acting Force Spokesperson, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi in a press release, the resuscitation of the quarterly issuance of uniforms and other accoutrements to members of the Inspectorate, Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and Constable cadres in the Police Force is in furtherance of the ongoing efforts by the IGP to engender reforms and evolve a new people-friendly Police Force.
The issuance of the new uniforms and accoutrements, which is a continuous exercise, is free of charge to all Inspectors and members of the Rank-and-File of the Force as provisions have been made for the continuous procurement in the Police budget.
A nationwide distribution on police uniforms, shoes, belts, berets, and other accessories was ordered by the inspector General of Police. In a move last seen during the 1990s, Zones, Commands and Formations in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have since the 4th of March 2022 have issued out hundreds of thousands of camouflage, blue and black uniforms to police officers across the country.
In the same vein, the IGP has approved the creation of First Aid Unit to be domiciled under the Nigeria Police Medical Service (NPMS), Force Headquarters, Abuja, and the inclusion of advanced First Aid Training to substitute the basic training available in the Nigeria Police Force Training Curriculum.
The Police, in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), held a train-the-trainers workshop that started from the 23rd through Friday 25th February, 2022, for personnel of the newly created unit, who would be deployed to all Commands and Formations across the nation, and in turn train cadets and recruits at the various Police training institutions.
The IGP equally noted that the establishment of the First Aid Unit would enhance the capacity of the Police Emergency Response System, reiterated the unwavering commitment of the Force leadership to bequeathing to the nation a professional, dependable and responsive policing system.
Furthermore, an Echo Cardio Machine was installed and inaugurated at the Muhammadu Buhari Medical Centre in Garki Abuja while an integrated First Aid Unit was added to the Force Medical Services for training and easy deployment on the field at the Nigeria Police Medical Service (NPMS), Force Headquarters, Abuja, and the inclusion of advanced First Aid Training to substitute the basic training available in the Nigeria Police Force Training Curriculum.
On this, he emphasized the premium value he places on the welfare and general wellbeing of officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force. He noted that it is boondoggle, emphasizing the hazardous conditions Police officers are exposed to on a daily basis.
To alleviate the effect of such hazards on officers and men, the IGP observed that it is imperative to establish a First Aid Unit that will be the first responder to personnel in need of emergency and less complicated medical care.
The IGP equally noted that the establishment of the First Aid Unit would enhance the capacity of the Police Emergency Response System.
According to the IGP, during a recent visit to the Federal Capital Territory Command, Abuja, the IGP restated his commitment towards an improved welfare for officers and men across board. The IGP noted that the issuance of uniforms and accoutrements, which will cut across the Inspectorate and Rank-and-File cadre, will be a continuous quarterly exercise free of charge, as provisions have been made for the continuous procurement in the Police budget.
This, he said is in furtherance of his ongoing efforts to engender reforms and evolve a new people-friendly Police Force.
IGP Alkali declared that the commitment of the Force to constantly providing NPF personnel with better welfare will go a long way to boosting their morale.
While he reiterated the unwavering commitment of the Force leadership towards bequeathing to the nation a professional, dependable and responsive policing system, the IGP enjoined the citizens to never give up on the Force. He urged every individual to make it a point of duty to help the Police by providing accurate and timely information about crime and criminalities to their local Police, so as to help the Force secure the public space in a more proactive manner.
Aside the issue of Welfare, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has revised the Housing SCHEME of the Nigeria Police Force.
A significant amendment to the Housing Policy is the slashing of Equity payments or deposits by Police Officers before acquiring houses financed by the Nigeria Police Cooperative and Multipurpose Society.
Hitherto, officers of the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police to the rank of Inspector General of Police were required to pay 20 percent of the property value while officers below the rank of ASP were required to pay 10 percent.
The revised equity now requires officers from the rank of ASP to IGP to pay 10 percent as equity while junior Officers pay 5 percent. Other revisions include a downward review of the life of the payment schedule from five (5) to seven (7) years on all properties. A Police Wireless Signal to that effect was issued and circulated in 2021 announcing the change.
It is on note, the IGP’s Policy on Housing has revived the housing scheme as more Police officers are now rushing to the Cooperative to enjoy the opportunities that is abound there now.
The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Police Cooperative, AIG Adamu Usman told this paper “that the IGP believes that housing is more important to the lives of Police Officers than any other thing.”
“He wants it to be affordable and acquirable through a seamless process.”
The report shows that several housing estates relevant to the achievement of this policy are being completed on the orders of the Inspector-General of Police, while new ones are being developed. Houses range from one-bedroom, to duplex; there are detached and semi-detached and are available in all the geo-political zones of the country.
As it is the welfare of Police Officers is a cardinal policy of the Inspector-General of Police. IGP Usman Alkali Baba which reechoed and reassured Officers during his recent familiarization tour to Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, that his administration will put the welfare of Police Officers first while working hard to ensure that working tools and equipment are available to provide professional and quality policing services to Nigerians while protecting officers and their families.
In an extensive interaction with police officers in Cross River State, the IGP commended them for their dedication and professionalism and assured them of improved welfare and working conditions.
He reiterated the importance of training and retraining as a key strategy of his administration to ensure policing in contemporary Nigeria is propped up to manage effectively the ever dilating and dynamic nature of crimes and criminality in the country.
For instance, Vehicles, equipment and accommodation were provided in January 2022 by the Police Trust Fund, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers states’ governments.
The IGP’s Legacy on Police Housing reforms, has continued to soar high as the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of NPF Cooperative Society, AIG Usman Adamu has driven IGP Usman Alkali Baba’s legacy to an enviable height which has been seen in the way the NPF Cooperative Society is providing improved facilities, equipped, cutting-edge and modern Police Post (with patrol van) in one of its estates at Karasana, off Gwarinpa Estate, Abuja. It is pertinent to note that provision of standard, habitable and affordable houses for Officers of the Force is one of the key mandates of the IGP.
In line with the IGP’s mandate, the NPF Cooperative Society under the leadership of AIG Adamu has undertaken viable projects to ensuring adequate housing in the NPF.
The new phase of the organization is headed by the Chairman – Board of NPF Cooperative Society, DIG Folawiyo (rtd), mni and the Executive Secretary, AIG Usman Adamu.
The leadership of the Board has further promised that in addition to the existing facilities in all its estates, it will extend the cutting-edge security system and improved facilities to other police estates to boost the standard therein.
Now the average Police officer, can breathe a sign of relieve as Police officers are advised to key into the scheme and secure their dream houses.
The housing section is an off-shoot of Nigeria Police Cooperative Multi-Purpose Society Limited which provide housing scheme to her Cooperators. This section derived her establishment as contained in part 11; section 6 of the Society’s Bye-law 2014 as amended. It provides that the Society shall “undertake Housing Projects either by developing new estates and constructing new houses or buy over existing estate or houses for allocation to its members.”
Part of the IGP Alkali’s act of reform within the Nigerian Police includes the passage of the Police Act, 2020, his sure protocol is to identify, elevate and position professionally competent officers to strategic positions, general and specialized trainings for officers, which many of those trainings has been ongoing while some have been concluded.
Again, the Inspector-General of Police recently in line with international best practices while addresses the growing concern for gender mainstreaming and respect for culture and diversity, approved a new and improved dress code for Women Officers which permits them to wear stud earrings, and headscarf under their berets or peak caps as the case may be while in uniform. The dress code was unveiled at the IGP’s meeting with Strategic Police Managers on March 3, 2022.
The IGP noted that the Nigeria Police workforce has officers from every local government in the country with a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds, and an increased inclusion of female folks. This therefore brings the need to guarantee inclusion, gender mainstreaming, ethnic and religious diversity in the work place for optimum output and professionalism. This has informed the improvement for effective global workforce diversity management. Other countries that have adopted same dress code include Canada, the United States of America, Sweden, Turkey, Australia and the United Kingdom amongst others.
The dress code is optional and Senior Women Police Officers have been tasked by the IGP to ensure compliance with the approved standard for women police officers who have opted to adopt the dress code.
With all the enumerated key issues handled by IGP Alkali including the case of Salary increase for the officers and men, it is noteworthy to state that the IGP is working hard to achieve a 21st century policing for the Nigerian Police officers where issues such as their Salaries, Housing, Welfare, safety and others are top of his agenda for an effective 2ist Century Police officer.