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Police allege external influence in strike threat



AMIDST concerns that a section of the Police Force may proceed on industrial action just before the presidential elections, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Suleiman Abba, has indicated that some people outside the force are influencing his personnel to disregard the authority.

   A statement Thursday in Abuja by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Emmanuel Ojukwu, said that Abba was aware that “some members of the public have adopted the mischievous path of inciting junior police officers to disrespect their oath of office.”

   However, Abba warned such members of the public to “desist from this unholy attitude and also cautioned the officers supposed to be associated with the planned strike action to tow the line of integrity.”

   He further drew attention to the dangers inherent in police officers disobeying superior orders and acting outside the code of conduct,” stating: “It does not portend well for public safety and security, and is a threat to our democracy.”

   Some Inspectors and Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASP), who were promoted in December 2013 but not paid the corresponding remunerations till December 2014 had request their 13-month salary arrears to no avail and so threatened boycott of the forthcoming general elections later this month.

   However, some of them told The Guardian on grounds of anonymity that the planned protest was not due to lack of patriotism but to expose the “serious corruption going on in the Police Force,” noting: “Our plans are still going on, though we have been briefed and subtly threatened with the repercussions of the action. But our arrears have to be paid or there would be resistance.”

   Nevertheless, the IGP warned further: “For the avoidance of doubt, the Nigeria Police Force will never tolerate any iota of indiscipline in the form of a strike or work-to-rule among its personnel.

   “Any officer found to be engaged in such a despicable act will be arrested and sanctioned in line with the Police Regulation and the Laws of the Federation.”

   The statement, however, reiterated the IGP’s earlier assurance that every effort was being made to meet the welfare needs of all police personnel, “including the payment of promotion arrears, which has since commenced with the payment to the promoted officers of salaries attendant on their new ranks.”

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