Wounded Soldier Says – ‘Nigerians Should Pay Attention to Us Like Chibok Girls’

Cpl. Ibrahim Usman, one of wounded soldiers in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East, has called on Nigerians to pay more attention to troops’ welfare.

Usman made the appeal in an interview with newsmen on Monday, when the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, visited wounded soldiers at hospitals in Maiduguri.

The soldier, who was admitted to military hospital, Maimalari Cantonment, about three weeks ago, urged Nigerians to pay attention to soldiers’ well being in the frontline just as they were doing for the missing Chibok girls.

According to Usman, his two legs broke during an explosion when a vehicle conveying him and nine other soldiers to Monguno in Borno north during an operation stepped on mine planted by the terrorists.

“We need Nigerians to take care of us. Like this my injury, broken legs, they suppose to take me to a specialist hospital or abroad for a good treatment.

“If it is these girls – Chibok school girls, they will take them abroad. We are the ones fighting in the bush,’’ Usman said.

Although the solider said that he was responding to treatment, he said would retire from the military when he gets well due to the injury.

“I cannot fight again because I do not have that strength any more. My legs are broken.

“If I get well, I will retire because my legs are broken. I can no longer go and fight the insurgents,’’ Usman.

Another soldier, Sgt. Ahmed Musa, however, thanked the army chief for visiting wounded soldiers in the hospital.

Musa of 119 Battalion Task Force, Mallam Fatori said: “My situation when I got here was worse but God I am getting healed.”

“I have injury in one of my hands. When he – Buratai came here we are happy because when we came here we did not see anybody. We appreciate the way he comes here,’’ he said.

According to Cpl. Innocent Gabriel, a nurse attending to one of the wounded soldiers at the time of the visit, the common cases of injury are fractures resulting from explosions and gunshots.

Gabriel said that most of wounded soldiers were responding to treatment, adding that some of them may be taken to the theatre.

The doctor in charge of the hospital, Lt.-Col. Ndidi Onuchukwu, a Consultant Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon, said that 97 wounded soldiers were being treated in the facility which had capacity for 105 patients.

Onuchukwu said that the worst cases come from combat injuries, adding that the hospital was,collaborating with the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital – UMTH to give the best to them.

Speaking after the visit, Buratai described it as “operation and welfare visit” to encourage the wounded soldiers.

He said that most of them would soon be discharged and commended troops for efforts in the war against the insurgents.

Prof. Abdurrahman Tahir, the Chief Medical Director of UMTH, lauded the army for the prompt settlement of its personnel medical bills. (NAN)


Air Force Acquires More Aircrafts, Promises Better Welfare

The Nigerian Air Force says it has recorded 100% increase of serviceable aircraft to address the current national security threat in Nigeria.

Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said this during the commissioning ceremony of staff accommodation in Kano’s Air Force base.

He said that Government is determined to reposition the Nigerian Air Force into a highly professional service through capacity building.

Accompanied by top ranking officers, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar said that the Nigerian Air Force must continue to remain vibrant towards the nation’s air defence.

He added that in order to achieve that, officers and men of the service also need to have a robust welfare package that will make them comfortable in confronting any kind of security threat.

Officers and men of the service had lacked adequate accommodation for mostly their family, a problem Sadique said is capable of dividing their attention in executing their duties.

To him, accommodation, healthcare facilities, capacity building among others should come first in any security institution across the country.

Meanwhile, the Air Chief has said that accommodation package for the personnel would continue across all Air Force bases across the country.

He added that with better welfare and equipment, there would be no hiding place for criminals.

Credit: ChannelsTv

Workers’ Welfare, Our priority – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said on Tuesday that the ministry would continue to place emphasis on the welfare of its staff, to boost their morale and enhance their productivity.


Mohammed said this while handing over the keys of two newly-acquired buses to the Joint Staff Union of the ministry in Abuja.



The minister said that the presentation of the vehicles marked the beginning of the numerous welfare packages that would be unveiled for the workers in due course.



“I want to assure you that this is the beginning of our gesture to make the welfare of workers in the Ministry of Information and Culture a priority.


Because without their cooperation, the ministry cannot achieve what we want to achieve.’’


The minister said the ministry had commenced the process of phasing out old staff buses and replacing them with new ones for the convenience of staff.


“A couple of weeks ago, we decided in our meeting that the vehicles in the pool are getting very old and we said that we would be gradually replacing those vehicles as funds are available.


We believe that it is morally wrong of us to expect workers to come early to work when they are using staff buses that are 20 years old.


These vehicles will break down on the way to work and many of our people also live quite far away from the office, so we decided with the management, to look at the best way to relieve the hardship of workers,’’ he said.



The minister, however, cautioned the operators of the staff buses to handle them with care in order to ensure their durability as well as the safety of the staffers.


In his response, the Chairman, Joint Staff Union in the ministry, Mr Adam Agwola, commended the minister for the gesture and promised that workers would reciprocate the gesture by re-dedicating themselves to duty.



Gov. Shettima Meets Civilian JTF, ?Announces Welfare Package For Members In Borno

Following recent attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in some parts of Borno State, Governor Kashim Shettima, on Tuesday, held a meeting with the youth volunteers involved in counter insurgency operations popularly known as “Civilian JTF” during which he appreciated their gallant efforts and unveiled welfare packages for them.

The meeting held at the Multipurpose hall of the Government House in Maiduguri.

The governor held closed door discussions with leaders of the volunteer group focusing on enhancing community policing.

At an open session with majority of the volunteers, Governor Shettima paid glowing tributes to them for sacrificing their lives towards complimenting the efforts of armed forces to fight for the restoration of peace in the state.

He said no amount of welfare package can equal the sacrifices being made by the volunteers especially given the fact that some of them had laid their lives for Borno State.

The governor said despite its meager resource, the Borno state Government would expend whatever it takes to ensure that the volunteers were properly paid, equipped and highly motivated.

He announced a bonus of N20 million naira to the volunteers while directing that any backlog of ?allowances be paid immediately.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Buhari Pledges Priority Attention To Police Recruitment, Welfare

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said that priority attention would be given to the recruitment, training, equipping, logistics and welfare of the Nigeria Police in line with international best practices.


Buhari made the assertion at the inauguration and handing over of security equipment worth N4.8 billion by the Lagos State Government to the state Police Command.


Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Interior, retired Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazau, commended the state government for the gesture.

“On its part, the Federal Government will continue to support and strengthen our security agencies to discharge their responsibilities optimally.

“Our vision is to ensure that the security forces are given the best we can offer,’’ Buhari said.


The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the equipment include three helicopters, two gun boats, 115 power bikes, 65 pick-up vans, 100 cars and trucks.


Others are 15 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), revolving lights, siren, bullet proof vests, helmets, handcuffs, uniforms, improved insurance and death benefits schemes among others.


Buhari noted that Lagos State had recently experienced a surge in armed robbery and other sundry crimes, hence the need for the intervention.


“By this intervention therefore, Lagos State Government has risen to the occasion by assisting the Nigeria Police with the wherewithal to curb crimes within its domain.


“This is indeed a remarkable achievement toward improving the security of lives of property in line with the change mantra of this government,’’ he said.


He enjoined other states to emulate the gesture by supporting security agencies as they strive to keep the country safe.


The president said that Nigeria was currently witnessing myriads of security challenges ranging from terrorism, separatist movements, kidnapping, militancy and armed robbery among others.


He noted that addressing these challenges called for collaboration among critical stakeholders.

“Equally important is the need to address social, economic and cultural factors contributing to the delinquency among youths who constitute majority of the worst offenders,’’ he said.

He therefore, called on youths to shun acts that were inimical to peace and stability of the nation.

“I hope that the Nigeria Police will find these equipment extremely beneficial to its current and future operations.

“Hence, concerted efforts must be made to ensure their longevity through efficient maintenance culture to justify the huge resources spent in acquiring them,’’ Buhari said.


Buhari charged the leadership of the Nigeria Police to see the donation as a clarion call to decisively deal with crimes, particularly the menace of armed robbery threatening residents.


Earlier, Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode, said that it had become compelling to re-energise the security infrastructure in meeting with recent trends in terror attacks all over the world.

Ambode said that 50 per cent of the amount used in acquiring the equipment came from lottery revenues of the state.

He said that the vehicles and equipment would enable the command to effectively cover every part of the state and respond to distress calls faster.

“To the officers of the Lagos State Police Command, we say to whom much is given, much is expected.

“Law enforcement officers are never off duty; they are dedicated public servants who are sworn to protect the public at any time and place.

“Lagosians will not accept excuses,’’ he said.

Also, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, in his address said that the state presented a unique security challenge as the commercial heartbeat of the nation.

He said: “I can assure the governor that the huge investment in the procurement of this security items will not be in vain.

“For by this gesture, you have motivated us.

“You have also assured us that as we work hand in hand as security agents to advance your vision for safe and secure Lagos state, you as the chief security officer of the state will be by us, meet our needs and give us the leverage to succeed.

“You have challenged us by this gesture and I can assure you that we shall not fail you as we appreciate that to whom much is given, much is expected’’.




Kifasi Hands Over To Oyo-Ita, Urges Welfare Support For Civil Servants

Mr Danladi Kifasi, the outgoing Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOS), has called for more attention to the provision of welfare support for civil servants.

Kifasi made the call while presenting his hand-over notes to the Acting HOS, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, on Thursday in Abuja.

According to Kifasi, the desire to motivate civil servants for higher productivity has always been constrained by lean budgetary allocation.

He said it had become imperative to adjust expenditure to meet critical needs, sustain operations and ensure effective service delivery to the public.

Kifasi maintained that he had kept faith with the oath of allegiance he took on assumption of office 13 months ago, serving the country dutifully and faithfully.

He stressed that with the cooperation of permanent secretaries, he had achieved a lot within the period he was in office.

He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity given him to serve.

Kifasi promised continued support for the Buhari administration as he retires, adding that he would always remain proud of the country`s civil servants, whom he said, played a significant role in stabilizing the polity.

“I am sincerely proud of you all for your sense of duty, patriotism and professionalism.’’

Credit: NAN

Daystar Christian Centre Gives Out Educational Materials To Over 12000 Students …

Lagos based church, Day star Christian Centre expressed love beyond words as she gave out educational materials worth millions to underprivileged students on Saturday 12th September, 2015 in a Back To School Initiative.Items given out included quality school bags, textbooks, sandals, notebooks, pencils, biros, among others….

Annually, the church leadership under the senior pastors, Sam & Nike Adeyemi, takes it as duty to kit children across Lagos Nigeria with school materials for their resumption.This has been a tradition in the last 20 years of the church. This year’s edition is unique in all dimensions. Usually, the free entry event has 5000 to 8000 every year but this edition had over 12000.

To the glory of God, they all went home happy with relevant school materials needed for this academic session….

According to the senior pastors, Sam & Nike Adeyemi, “the true essence of a church, as taught by Christ, is to be the light of the society. The light shows way in the darkness, provides directions and makes going easy. We are called by God to raise role models in the society and education remains a pivotal compass in shaping and modeling young lives”

In her own words, one of the beneficiaries, an SSS2 student from Oregun High school, said “the existence of this church in our community has paid our family so well. Though my parents are Muslims but they always wait till September when this event holds and are sure my school materials will be provided by Daystar. Since my JSS1, I don’t buy school bags, books and biros but Daystar Christian Centre provides that for me. I thank the church very much.”

IDPs Welfare Is Top Priority- Buhari

The resettlement and comfort of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) will remain a top priority of the Federal  Government, President Muhammadu Buhari said in Abuja on Monday.

He made the declaration after receiving briefing by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr Ezekiel Oyebola Oyemomi at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to him, the well-being of about 1.5 million people displaced by the insurgency in the North-East must always be uppermost in the minds of those in government.

Buhari, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, therefore directed the ministry to always be mindful of the pathetic circumstances of the IDPs, and factor them into proposals for next year’s Budget.

“You must help to  improve their situation,” the President told the Permanent Secretary and his team of officials.

Read More: thenationonlineng

We Live Like Rats, Yet Nigerians Want Us To Be Their Friends – Policemen

He was drenched with sweat by the time he wriggled himself through the narrow entrance of his room into the passageway. Looking very depressed and drowsy that Thursday afternoon, he dragged himself along the hole-ridden passage and collapsed into the rickety sofa beside the staircase that leads to the upper floors in one of the buildings in the barracks.
With frustration written all over his face, Emma Uden (not real names), a sergeant in the police, kept muttering to himself, but dosed off few minutes later. Apparently disturbed by the music blaring in his neighbourhood, Uden could not but open his eyes feebly and intermittently.
His pain was obvious to anyone who came across him, but the reason for his frustration was largely unknown. However, as Uden would later tell our correspondent in a conversation he grudgingly consented to, since the apartment allotted to him in the barracks collapsed in June last year, he and his

family had been living in the kitchen of one of the dilapidated buildings in Pedro police barracks, Somolu, Lagos. That was his main frustration.

“It was the only alternative we had at that time,” he said, as he unbuttoned his shirt to enjoy some fresh air.
Since he and his family were constrained to live in a room (kitchen), he said life had become one of bitterness and frustration. To escape the intense heat of the day and the constant constraint of space that his family of six could never live comfortably with, Uden had been used to sitting outside anytime he was home.
Hoping that respite could eventually come his way if he opened up to Saturday PUNCH, Uden wasted no time in leading our correspondent to his room where he lives with his wife and their four children. He opened the door and lowered his head as he made to enter, to avoid being bruised on the head by the doorframe. As he opened the curtain for our correspondent to enter, the odour, which seemed like a mixture of wet rug and accumulated sweat, that oozed out of the stuffy room was disturbing and could make anybody puke.
The room was like a store reserved for unused household items. The only window in the room appeared dysfunctional while the base of the wall that was visible was seriously dampened, and the ceiling riddled with signs of serious dilapidation. Expectedly, Uden, whose four children had occupied the only bed in the room, appeared discomfited by the state of the place he called home as he continually scratched his head to look for the right words.
Even though he is not alone in such a tortuous situation in the premises, he said he had resorted to coming home just to sleep, unless he was off duty. This, he said, was to avail his family some space in the room and that sometimes he would rather stay in his office or volunteer to go on patrol, all in a bid to stay away from home. They don’t even live alone in the house, occasionally, the family live with big rats that find their way out of the broken septic tank located close to the kitchen into the room.
He said, “When we were still living in the room and parlour before our building collapsed last year, we were managing because of the small space, not to talk of now that we have just one room, which used to be a kitchen. It’s like living in a cave. That is the lot of most of us.
“Can you imagine that? We live in a kitchen, and you want policemen to be your friends while you all live in your comfortable mansions. You expect us to carry rifle and risk our lives to protect people. Haba!”
His passionate expression of grief was second to none, even though he said he had concluded arrangements to leave the barracks for a room and parlour accommodation he secured somewhere in Bariga area of Lagos.
He added, “If nobody takes care of us, we will take care of ourselves, because apart from the space issue, we (residents of this barracks) queue to use toilet and bathroom, because the ones available are not adequate. So we queue to bathe every morning. Here, three-room and parlour flats share one toilet and bathroom. For me and my family who live in an abandoned kitchen, we pair with another flat. So, we join the queue every morning.
“Don’t forget that we are all adults with families. I feel ashamed that I go through this every morning? Tell those people in government what you saw here. Let them know we are suffering. Even when we get to the office, we either sit under the tree or stand in the sun.”
Some other policemen in the barracks who shared Uden’s views, lamented over the poor state of infrastructure in the barracks, saying they had always been living in perpetual fear for their lives, occasioned by the decrepit buildings.
As our correspondent observed during the visit, almost all the buildings in the barracks had obvious signs of imminent collapse. In fact, the derelict of the block six that collapsed last year gives an impression that the collapse must have been imminent before it happened.
‘I cry when I look at my children’
One of Uden’s neighbours, who also lives in a room and parlour, told Saturday Punch that it is interesting that Nigerians expect so much from policemen they are not well taken care of. He said the hardship and the living condition he had had to subject his four children and his pregnant wife to made him cry sometimes.
Fighting back tears, he said, “Sometimes, when I look at the way my children sleep on the floor, sweat almost all the time because of the poor ventilation, and the obvious frustration and inconvenience written on their faces, I cry. I know that they are not happy with the situation, but they are helpless.
“I pity them when I see them going out to look for water, living in such a condition. Sometimes, when I’m at work, I think about them and it affects me. These things make me cry, silently. Sometimes, we are on the same queue at the entrance of the bathroom. You can imagine that. Which father will be proud of such?”
The situation at the Pedro Barracks is akin to what obtains in many other barracks across the country. It also revealed how barracks that used to be a status symbol for policemen have become a shadow of death in disguise.
In the past, it was mandatory for police officers and men to live in the barracks, as they were prevented from living among ‘civilians,’ but years after, the reverse is now the case.
These days, the status symbol is for any policeman worth his salt to live outside the barracks due to the ignominious life that obtains in there. Some of them even said jokingly that they live like prisoners.
This shift, as pointed out by the policemen who have lived in the barracks for many years, was due to the lack of maintenance of the barracks, increasing population with no attendant improvement in facilities and the refusal of the government to build new barracks for policemen.
Lamentation galore in police barracks

One of the buildings in Ojuelegba barracks, Lagos

Entering the Obalende barracks, which contains an array of two-storey buildings for officers and men, one would not but get an impression of entering a calm and pleasant neighbourhood, more so that it is shielded from the ever noisy Obalende motor park that adjoins the premises.
However, just a few metres into the compound, the initial excitement and optimism in any visitor’s mind tend to diminish, being replaced swiftly by a puff of disappointment, shock and intense confusion.
The visitor is greeted by dilapidated structures, garnished with cracked and broken walls, overgrown weeds that line some of the major roads, broken sewage pipes littering some backyards, flooded and stinking drainages. Signs of reckless abandonment were all over the place. And the facility houses hundreds of police officers and their families who live in perpetual fear for their lives.
Apart from the fact that each officer is only entitled to a room and parlour with no private toilet and bathroom, each floor of the buildings (having nine flats on each floor), has about two toilets and bathrooms. Thus, the policemen and their families queue to use the facilities, coupled with the unstable water supply in the premises.

‘Our children pray never to be like us’
Another policeman who said he should be referred to as Mr. Obi Andrew, who lives in Obalende barracks, and would rather not disclose his real name or rank, lamented that anytime he had the opportunity of discussing with his children, they would always vent their anger and frustration about living in the barracks.
He said, “They tell me that they feel ashamed of themselves in the presence of their mates, and that’s why I withdrew them from a private school and took them to a police school. My youngest son once told me that he would never be a policeman, but he would do everything possible to join the army, air force or navy. They keep telling me to look for another job, and seriously, I’m considering it. In fact, my wife sings it to my ears now.
“They are just tired of living in the barracks, and since I can’t afford a better accommodation at the moment, they have to endure it, and I have to keep encouraging them.”
A policewoman, a divorcee, who identified herself simply as Grace, said her children, whom her ex-husband left in her custody had never hidden their dislike for her job. She said, “My daughter tells me that with the kind of life that we are subjected to in the barracks, if that is the best way to be rewarded for serving one’s country as a police officer, she would never be one.
“Barracks life is not the best for any child, or even parent. Most of us live here because of financial issues and because living here is cheaper and maybe safer.”
‘We are ashamed of having visitors’
It’s the same story of lamentations when our correspondent visited the Ijeh barracks, located around Obalende in Lagos Island. To a visitor, the room and parlour apartments, which share boundary with the old Dolphin Estate, look like block of stores with its frontage used mostly for petty trading by the wives of the policemen.
On the other side of the divide, separated by dirt and flooded stinking drainages, the story isn’t any better in the room and parlour bungalow, even though it’s located opposite a posh estate in the area, Abdullahi Adamu Housing Estate.

Rear view of a building in Ojuelegba barracks

One of the policemen in the barracks, who pleaded anonymity, told Saturday Punch that the barracks is the worst place to live during the rainy season, as he said all the frontage and entrances to their homes would be flooded.
Because of the state of the barracks, this policeman and a few of his colleagues said they would never think of entertaining visitors in their homes.
“Anyone who wants to see me should come and meet me in the office or anywhere else. How can I receive a visitor in this kind of environment and such a person won’t look down on me?” he said.
Bright added, “There was a time my brother-in-law came in from the United States, and I hired a taxi to pick him from the airport. So, as we drove down towards Obalende, he admired the bridges and the streetlights, coupled with the trading activities that were still on at that time of the night.
“But on approaching Ijeh, the bad road and the darkness that enveloped everywhere changed his appraisal. By the time we got to my apartment, he managed to alight and say hello to the kids and then offered to look for a hotel to stay.
“On one hand, I wasn’t happy because of the embarrassment, but on the other hand, I was relieved that he went back, because if he had slept in that house that night, he would have been full of regrets. He would have been battered by mosquitoes which we contend with and the stuffy nature of the room. Besides, there might have been no space for him, unless on the sofa. So, it’s sad.”
It was also learnt that some policemen who had not been able to secure accommodation in the barracks put up planks where they sleep at night.
At the Ikeja police barracks, the one sharing boundary with Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, it is another eyesore. On one hand are the overflowing septic tanks characterised by flies and the attendant smell, and on the other hand are the structural defects that adorn the buildings, including wide cracks, and an environment that exude neglect.
Findings showed that every policeman in the barracks is only entitled to a room and parlour, thus, regardless of their family size, they have a small space to play with, while about two or three flats have to share one toilet and bathroom. Some of the residents told Saturday Punch that the hygiene of the facilities remains an area of concern.
Bright noted, “Even when you choose to be neat, what of other people who share the toilet or the bathroom with you? Sometimes, I get to the toilet and someone would have used it without flushing it. In such cases, you either flush it and use or leave. How do you trace the person who did that, when about 15 people or more from three families could be entitled to it.
“There are cleaners, but what can they do. Soon after cleaning, the place is messed up already. Only God has been protecting our children from contracting diseases.”
Apart from some broken pipes conveying human waste materials and attendant smell, some of the septic tanks had no proper covering while some were already overflowing and awaiting evacuation. Thus, rats move freely, even in daytime.
‘I’m worried about my children’
No doubt, life in the barracks is in sharp contrast to what obtains in some saner climes. As Grace pointed out that barracks was not the best place to raise children, it could be observed that even teenagers and underage girls would easily be exposed to what should be the exclusive reserve for adults.
Some mothers pointed out that life in the barracks had always been a loose one and something to worry about, more so that peer pressure is a serious issue for teenagers.
For Mrs. Ada, a teacher, whose husband, an Inspector, leaves home for work very early each morning, it is by God’s grace that one of her daughters has not been impregnated so far in the barracks.
“She used to move around with one of my neighbours’ sons, who is about her age, but I never suspected anything until the day I caught them touching themselves in vital areas. I almost killed her because I don’t want her to end up like some others here. If I had told my husband, he would have beaten the daylight out of her because the boy’s father is a junior officer to him. So it’s a challenge and I’m worried about them. These things happen outside, but I think it’s more in the barracks.
‘We protect lives but nobody cares about us’
In other climes, it is a thing of pride to be a policeman but in Nigeria, it is a different reality. When Mr. James Eze joined the police force many years ago, he said he loved the job and his intention was to serve his country in his own way. But now, Eze, who joined the force as a complete man has almost lost one of his legs at the dilapidated barracks at Ojuelegba where he used to live. He could not hide his feelings while speaking with our correspondent recently.
Eze while narrating how he broke his leg in front of his own apartment, said he had just finished eating and decided to relax outside when the incident happened. “I was still busy rubbing my stomach and savouring the delicacy when, suddenly, rubbles from the slab of the floor above my head fell on my left leg and broke my left foot,” he said.
He explained that the injury he sustained on his leg did not only put him in pains, it ruptured the leg such that he could no longer wear shoes until recently.
He said, “If I knew, I would have stayed inside and endured the heat, just that sometimes staying inside is like being in the bakery. My brother, in spite of what I went through, not much was done to help me and nobody really cared, so I had to take to my heels with my family.
“Before I left, sometimes while climbing the staircase, you’d need to say your last prayer because those stairs can collapse anytime. The buildings in that barracks are very old, but nobody is doing anything about it. And many people live there. Many other people have been injured, but let’s leave it there.”
When our correspondent visited the Ojuelegba barracks, from the distance, it was like an abandoned property left to collapse, due to its level of dilapidation. But as bad as it is, it houses hundreds of police officers and their families, who live there with hope and optimism rather than peace of mind and joy. Suffice to say the buildings in this barracks are disasters waiting to happen.
“We spend our entire time protecting lives and properties, but see where we live. Anytime I’m coming home I feel sad. I’m not even proud to bring my relatives or friends here because it’s shameful,” a resident told Saturday Punch.
When former governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, went to inaugurate the administrative building of the Area ‘C’ Police Command beside the Ojuelegba barracks, he had warned that something urgent needed to be done by the Federal Government to address the poor state of the buildings in the barracks to avoid a collapse.
Apart from the untidy premises occasioned by lack of maintenance, standing on the pavement of the first floor was like standing under the shadow of death, because just like Eze experienced, one could see part of the iron rods used for the casting of the slab of the upper floor.

Dilapidated building at Ojuelegba barracks

The slab had not only weakened, pebbles fell down from it occasionally and part of the iron rods used to hold the concrete had pulled out of position and could injure any tall person in the dark. There were wide cracks on the walls, and because of broken pipes, the bathroom and kitchen walls had a stomach-churning colouration and outlook, while holes of different sizes dot some walls.
Apart from the infrastructural decay, residents spread clothes on the lines in their frontage making the environment disgusting.
But in spite of the bad state of the barracks, findings showed that policemen would always look for accommodation there, because, according to them, it is cheaper and safer to live among themselves.
“The amount they deduct from our salary for lodging could be about N10, 000, depending on rank, and it is deducted from source. Whereas, if you don’t stay in the barracks, they pay you like housing allowance, just that it is small. Besides, barracks are safer and there can’t be armed robbery there, unless petty stealing from within, and it is not rampant,” a resident said.
Police, an endangered security agency
Unlike their counterparts in the army, Navy and Air Force, who live in decent and comfortable accommodation, policemen seem to live like refugees in their own barracks.
Findings showed that the least form of accommodation for soldiers in the army barracks and navy officers in their barracks is a decent two-bedroom flat while police officers struggle to get a decrepit room and parlour accommodation lacking basic amenities.
Apart from the respect accorded these two agencies, findings showed that policemen, who have the primary responsibility of protecting lives and properties and are closer to the civil populace, have a lot to contend with, including poor societal perception, delayed promotion and many other issues.
Coupled with their salary, which they often describe as not too good, some of them are now into some private ventures to make more money, such as being security guards for private institutions and car dealers, while many lobby for special postings.
Bright said, “It seems being a policeman in Nigeria is fast becoming a curse because everything works against us. No proper accommodation, you buy your own uniform, no timely promotion, even the people you risk your life to protect are ready to lynch you for committing any slight error. Too bad, my brother.”
One thing these policemen will not but emphasise is that their living condition and welfare has a lot of impact on their performance, attitude and behaviour.
Police barracks in other climes
Given that the police barracks across Nigeria are in bad shape and in a serious state of disrepair, findings also showed that while some police barracks suffer the same fate with Nigeria, some others are a lot better, giving the policemen in such places a better lease of life.
In South Africa, for instance, it was gathered that a number of barracks have been left unkempt, while some, like the Herdeshof, a 15-storey building police barracks, which houses about 184 police officers and their families, are said to be in good shape.
In Ghana, a non-commissioned officer is entitled to a two bedroom flat while a commissioned staff is entitled to a single-quatered room. But, sometime last month, the Mamprobi police barracks was heavily flooded, leading to loss of valuables belonging to the policemen living in such barracks. Some of the officers were quoted to have lamented the state of the infrastructure in the barracks. This, to a large extent, shows the way policemen are being treated in these countries.
Environment dictates human behaviour and conduct
Speaking on the effects of dilapidated barracks and other associated problems on police residents, a professor of psychology, Toba Elegbeleye, pointed out that the environment does not only affect human behaviour and conduct, it also goes a long way to affect people’s input in their work.
He explained that a society that treats its policemen like animals would always get the feedback in the way they do their work, adding that when people see those around them as being better placed, they tend to visit their anger on those innocent individuals.
He said, “We normally analyse environment in four categories, which are human, physical, psychological and contingency, and they all have direct implication on human behaviour and conduct. So, the environment goes a long way to affect people’s conduct and to give you the confidence required to boost and enhance your input into your work.
“Also, when you operate in an environment that does not fit your calling/status, you lose a lot of confidence and your own assessment of self will be less than par, leading to having low self esteem. When that sets in and you see other individuals around you living a better life, you tend to visit your anger on innocent individuals, which is akin to what we have.”
We are aware of the decay –Police
In his reaction, the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Emmanuel Ojukwu, admitted that police barracks across the country were in bad shape, but noted that the police authorities were making efforts to rehabilitate them and to also help policemen and women own their own homes outside the barracks.
He said, “We are aware that there are issues about the decayed infrastructure in police barracks nationwide and that some of them are very old, but efforts are being made to rehabilitate as many of them as possible.
“Besides, we are making efforts to help officers to own their own homes outside the barracks. That is the major thrust of this administration.”
When asked about the time the rehabilitation of the barracks would commence, he said, “There can’t be any time frame because everything has to be tied to funds, and you know the nature of the economy now.
“The police do not act above the state of the economy of the country. Therefore, as we get money and intervention from the members of the public, things will change.”
Source – punchng.com

FG Committed To Security, Welfare Of Corps Members- NYSC DG

The Director General of the National Youths Service Corps ( NYSC), Johnson Olawumi, has reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to the welfare and security of corps members across the country.

He made the remark on Tuesday at the NYSC permanent orientation camp in Wamakko, headquarters of Wamakko Local Government of Sokoto State when he addressed the 2015 batch “A” corps members deployed to the state and those undergoing three weeks orientation.

Olawumi said “the Federal Government is doing its best to adequately fund the NYSC scheme, while other stakeholders complement these efforts.

“The NYSC management remains committed to the welfare of corps members and will never deviate from doing so.”

He advised the corps members to imbibe qualities that would lead to the realisation of their potential

as prospective leaders of the country.

The director-general also urged the corps members to draw inspiration from the feats achieved by statesmen like General Yakubu Gowon, the founder of the scheme.

He said “you should also emulate other leaders like the Sultan of Sokoto and others, and you must be ready to make similar sacrifices made by those great leaders.

“Becoming a statesman is not easy; you must imbibe the virtues of honesty, loyalty, integrity, hard work and sacrifice for the good of your country.

“All the leaders you see did not get there overnight, they got there through hard work.”

Credit: NAN

Before You Abuse Our Police And Soldiers – JJ, Omojuwa

We miss the point a lot. We expect police officers whose salaries can barely feed our own pets to be up and doing at dilapidated rat holes called police stations. When they leave their workplaces for the barracks, they stay in some of the most demeaning housing projects you’d see anywhere in the world. We want them to serve and protect with integrity but right from the point they are hired, we take their dignity away from them. We can pretend all we like, but the mess we see in our system is the mess we invested in it.

Channels Television got knocks from those who ought to praise it for bringing the state of the Police College Ikeja under public scrutiny. They said it was done to discredit the President, the same way anyone who points out the way to make our country better is said to do it to discredit the President. How can a President who hardly has anything going for his government continue to assume citizens who want the best for him as President would want to take away the little credit he has going for him?

The flies which perch around the sugar offered by power often forget that this is about our country first and foremost before it is about whoever is running it. Power comes and goes, countries remain for longer. WhatChannels Television showed of the Police College, Ikeja was not an outlier, it is the normal reality of filth, lack, hunger and penury that have bedevilled the force. It is even getting worse now!

Many of us want our soldiers to help #BringBackOurGirls now and alive, in reference to the abducted #ChibokGirls. While we make that much needed call, let us also spare a thought for these men of the armed forces. Think about it; they read newspapers, they listen to the radio and at times watch the news. They know all about the trillions budgeted for security every year and they also know all about the poverty that comes with doing what they do. They know that cronies of our rulers are feeding off their allocations. They are privy to the fact that children of their bosses will feed them and their fellow soldiers for years with wealth accrued from denying their rights as the defenders of the Nigerian people. They defend our country with their lives, this while the country hardly pays attention to ensuring each soldier lives a respectable life. Politicians steal from us for decades, die and have streets named after them; our soldiers die in battlefields like the falling of the branch of a small tree in the forest, we hardly notice. No glory in life, no glory in death yet, we expect them to chase glory for our country. Or, as in the case of the Chibok schoolgirls, rescue them fast and now! Let us at least face it; this is one difficult country to do good!

It is easier to see those serving today and imagine how tough things are in a country where “corruption is not stealing and stealing is not corruption” as long as you steal enough to donate to powerful people for elections. If they were abandoned and forgotten while they are serving, imagine what happens when age calls and they must be retired? Retired officers are some of the poorest of our country’s 54 per cent extremely poor population. We sing, “The labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain,” and some of us actually think that line of the national anthem only refers to the dead ones who fought for our Independence. We should know better. Most of our heroes and heroines are still living and the bulk of them are living in poverty and squalour. Their labour has been in vain not only for the nation they fought for and defended with their lives, that labour has been in vain even for their personal lives.

We rightly or wrongly like to compare our officers with their United Kingdom or United States counterparts. A new police constable in the UK receives about N5.8 million/year. This eventually rises to about N10 million/year. Apart from this basic, the officers receive a London weighting and allowances amounting to about N1.7m. Added to these monetary benefits are annual leave reaching 30 days and not less than 22 days depending on one’s length of service. This is apart from public holidays and the average two rest days per week. Other benefits include maternity, paternity and adoption leave, special leave with pay, special leave without pay, parental leave and career breaks of up to five years (See http://www.metpolicecareers.co.uk/newconstable/pay_and_benefits.html). When next you expect so much from our police officers, ask yourself, how much has our system given into their welfare and livelihood?

As the benefits of being a police officer in the UK are as far from that of being one in Nigeria, the same applies to other service units including the Army, Navy and Air Force.

In our country, a few men and women are feeding fat on the destinies and livelihoods of the majority yet our so-called leaders are always quick to spout tales of patriotism and dedication to service. Who wouldn’t be dedicated to service with the benefits listed above? Mind that those numbers apply to the most junior of officers.

It started from us. First, the military overthrew the irresponsible civilians, then the military took over power. Not willing to share the responsibilities of power with the police, the military crippled the police and treated them like scum. Today, the police are in a worse state than the scum left by the military. When civilians took over power in 1999, one of the first shots fired was at the military, some would argue rightly so, seeing as the military had got so used to having political power for so long. Out of fear of the military, successive civilian governments have found a way to allocate enough money to the top echelons of the military to get them fat and keep them fat while forgetting that the rank and file is the fulcrum of military might. By our own selves, we have hurt our pride and strength. A country that was once the saviour of Africa, an Army that was once the pride of West Africa, now needs the support of Ghana, to fight insurgents. We have come so far.

Ghana in 2013 allocated about N51.3bn to defence while Nigeria allocated about N348.9bn in the same year. Based on these numbers, Nigeria’s defence spending is about seven times that of Ghana. That in itself is to be expected, what is not to be expected is that we would be needing Ghana’s help to fight insurgents in our country. We have come so far.

A time comes in the history of a nation when it must look at itself and ask itself pertinent questions. At the moment, our country is like an old man with many grandchildren, many children poor and desolate yet this old man wakes every morning thinking all is well and he calls his rich and not so rich friends to come party with him. Our old man wants the world to see he is rich and great but those who live with the old man know that all his claims of transformation are lies fed to the most gullible of his offspring. You have to fear for this old man. God bless every soul serving this country, in the midst of plenty, yet, living on the crumbs from the table of Father Abraham, sorry Nigeria

Japheth J, Omojuwa tweets via @omojuwa. This article was first published in the Punch newspapers and is re-published here courtesy the author. Views expressed are solely the author’s.