â€¢They only went to state command for inquiries, says Force spokesman
Michael Olugbode, in Maiduguri
There was commotion in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, yesterday as officers and men of the Mobile Unit of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) took to the streets to protest the non-payment of their six monthsâ€™ allowances.
But the spokesman of the NPF, Jimoh Moshood has said no police personnel protested in Maiduguri as a result of non-payment of special duty allowance, saying the policemen only went to the state Police Command for inquiries.
However, it was learnt that the protesting police personnel were posted to the state in January 2018 to strengthen the security of the troubled state, which has been ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency for about a decade.
Our correspondent, who monitored the protest, noted that the policemen , who were fully armed, matched in their hundreds to the state Police Headquarters located on the major highway in the town, but were prevented from gaining entry into the police complex.
The police officers subsequently barricaded the highway, shooting sporadically into the air and scaring motorists.
Some students and workers had to turn back to their homes as they could not pass through the barricade.
Some of the officers, who spoke to our correspondent, lamented that since January when they were deployed to the state on special operation, they have not been paid their allowances.
They complained that many of them had gone through inhuman treatment as they had to sleep on the corridor of the office when they returned from duty at night.
When contacted, the Borno Police Commissioner, Damian Chukwu said he was aware of the protest.
He further said the delay in payment of the allowances was connected with the late signing of the budget.
But Moshood said in a statement that no police officers and men in the state embarked on protest as they were on their duty posts ensuring public peace and order in the state.
â€œIt is not correct that police personnel protested in Maiduguri today yesterday), July 2, 2018. Some of the Police Mobile Force personnel on special duty in Maiduguri went to the Borno State Police Command Headquarters on enquiry over the delay in the payment of their special duty allowance in the early hours of today (yesterday) and not on protest as reported in some media,â€ he said.
He said he Inspector General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, had directed the Commissioner of Police, Borno State to address and inform them why there was delay in the payment of their special duty allowance, and also assure them that since the budget had been approved the allowances would be expeditiously processed and paid without any further delay.
He added the IG also ordered the Commissioner of Police, Police Mobile Force (PMF) to proceed to Maiduguri and other states in the North-east, where PMF personnel were deployed on special duty to lecture and inform them on the efforts being made by the Force to ensure timely payment of special duty and other allowances to police personnel in the North-east of the country.
Moshood further claimed that the Police Mobile Force personnel that went on the enquiry were not those attached to Operation Lafiya Dole in the fight against insurgency in the North-east, but those on the category of visiting Police Mobile Force units deployed in Maiduguri on crime prevention and other police duties in the state.
He urged members of the public in Maiduguri not to panic but to go about their lawful duties and other responsibilities without fear or apprehension.
Moshood also assures that the police is a disciplined organisation and would not allow any situation to degenerate into disturbance of public peace, anywhere in the country.