In order to meet some of the demands of the EndSARS protesters, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) recently approved a 20 percent pay rise for Nigerian police officers and men. The salary increase, which is expected to take effect in January 2022, will improve the welfare of police personnel.
The government also increased the police service allowance to six percent. It also approved the release of 1.2 billion naira for the payment of uninsured benefits of police personnel and the release of 1.2 billion naira to settle unpaid indemnities. Police Affairs Minister Maigari Dingyadi revealed it to reporters after the virtual FEC meeting in Abuja. The minister also said that 13.128 billion naira was intended to compensate for the overdue benefits of 5,472 police personnel, while a tax exemption of 18.6 billion naira was approved for police personnel at the level. 1 to 14.
We commend the Federal Government for increasing the salaries of police personnel and urge them to do more to improve the general welfare of the Nigerian police force, especially those of lower management. This is apparently the first step taken by the federal government to reform the Nigerian police force following the EndSARS protest in October 2021. Protesters had, in their five-point demands, called for an increase in police salaries so that they can be properly compensated for the protection of the life and property of citizens. They also demanded justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families as well as a psychological assessment and retraining of all sacked SARS operatives before they can be redeployed, in accordance with the new law on duty. the police, among others. However, they added a caveat that this exercise must be confirmed by an independent body. Young people demand an increase in police pay due to the fact that Nigerian police officers and men are among the lowest paid in the world. This alone can explain the rampant corruption in the force.
While the pay rise is well below the expectations of some in the Force and the general public, it’s a good start. A lot of good things are expected to happen in the Force in the years to come. Therefore, we urge the police personnel to do the right thing with good conduct and increased operational efficiency. They should also avoid corruption in all its ramifications. Beyond the increase in salaries in the force and other improved allowances, the reform of the police should be more comprehensive. In addition to the force restructuring, which many prominent Nigerians have called for, the police force needs to be increased in line with our growing population and the United Nations (UN) Police Ratio recommendation for adequate police, which is one policeman for every 400 citizens of a country. With our current police force estimated at 370,000, we can in no way meet the UN recommendation.
As of July 2021, Nigeria had a police force of around 370,000 people. Assuming that figure is still intact, it is not enough to monitor the more than 200 million Nigerians and foreigners among us. The previous plan to increase the force to 650,000, which means the addition of 280,000 new recruits, was not met. And there is no indication that it will soon be reached.
Besides the lack of well-being and equipment, the force grapples with several issues, including nepotism, ethnicity, corruption and an insufficient workforce, both in terms of strength and strength. expertise. He also suffers from insufficient education and training. To overcome some of these challenges, the government should develop adequate training and retraining programs for our police personnel in accordance with global standards.
It has also become inevitable for the government to view the demand for police decentralization as obtainable in other federations. Our experience so far has shown that a centralized police force cannot function effectively for a federation as large as Nigeria. Nigerian police reform should be a continuous exercise, so that it has sufficient scope. It must go beyond the one-off salary increase.