Police authorities in Abuja have denied reports that mobile police officers protested in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Monday as a result of non-payment of special duty allowances.
The Force Public Relations Officer (PRO), Jimoh Moshood, in a statement said the police officers and men in the state were on their duty posts ensuring public peace, and law and order in the state, adding they only went to the state police command to make enquiries.
Some aggrieved policemen were seen on Monday morning protesting in Maiduguri over alleged non-payment of their special duty allowance.
Though they were prevented from gaining access into the command headquarters located on the major highway in the town, the protesting policemen barricaded the highway, shooting sporadically into the air and scaring motorists and commuters off.
Some of the students and workers on their way to school and office had to turn back to their homes as they could not pass through the barricades.
Some of the officers, who spoke to newsmen, had lamented that since January when they came to the state on special operation, allowances had not been given to them.
Even the Borno Police Commissioner Damian Chukwu had earlier in the day confirmed that he was aware of the protest and said the delay in payment of the allowances may not be unconnected with the late signing of the budget.
But Moshood denied that such protest ever happened, saying ‘’it is not correct that police personnel protested in Maiduguri today, 2nd July, 2018.’’
He added, ‘’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 and not on protest as reported in some media.’’
He said Inspector General of Police, 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 IGP also ordered the Commissioner of Police, Police Mobile Force (PMF) to proceed to Maiduguri, Borno State and other states in the North East, where PMF personnel were deployed on special duty to lecture 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 currently engaged in the fight against insurgency in the North East, but those in the category of visiting Police Mobile Force units deployed in Maiduguri on crime prevention and other police duties in the state.
The Force PRO urged members of the public in Maiduguri not to panic but to go about their lawful duties and other responsibilities without fear or apprehension.
He described the Nigeria Police Force as a disciplined organisation and would not allow any situation to degenerate into disturbance of public peace anywhere in the country.