Maiduguri Police protest shows leadership problem Buhari mustn’t ignore —Reps

Members of the House of Representatives warned on Thursday that security challenges in the country would continue to worsen, leading to anarchy if more protests by policemen occurs across the Federation.

The lawmakers also observed that revolt by security personnel suggested a leadership problem, which President Muhammadu Buhari must not continue to ignore.

They spoke in Abuja as the House passed a resolution to investigate the circumstances which led to Monday’s protests by riot policemen in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

The policemen had protested alleged unpaid special duty allowances that had accumulated for six months.

A member from Rivers State, Mr. Kingsley Chinda, brought up a motion on Thursday, urging the House to intervene by probing the incident and offering urgent solutions.

Chinda recalled that the Police authorities had made some excuses to defend themselves, including a reference to the delay in passing the 2018 budget.

But, Chinda, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, noted that the excuses were “not plausible” because Police salaries and allowances were recurrent expenditure.

The lawmaker explained that recurrent expenditure sub-heads would continue to be paid, irrespective of budget delays.

He said, “No country plays with the welfare of its security personnel.

“The excuse of the Police authorities blaming the protest on budget delay is a fallacy. Budget delay does not stop allowances and salaries from being paid.

“There is a deeper problem that we don’t know; that is why this investigation will help the House in taking the appropriate decision.”

A member from Kano State, Mr. Aliyu Madaki, recalled how he heard the protesting policemen calling the IG “thief”, “thief!”

Madaki added, “I watched the clip of the protest and I was in shock. How will a policeman on special duty posting refuse taking bribe when he is not given food and accommodation?

“The Nigeria Police, under the current IG, is incapable of protecting Nigerians. This IG should be removed, else the government will continue to fail in upholding Section 14 ( 2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”

The House Minority Whip, Mr. Yakubu Barde, told the House that the revolt meant that the policemen had lost confidence in their IG.

“Mr. Speaker, this is not good for our security as a country. This means that these policemen will not take orders from the IG, since they do not have confidence in him.

“Recall that the National Assembly passed a vote of no confidence in this IG. He is still in the office. Now, it’s his own men that are also saying they no longer have confidence in him.

“The implications is that there will soon be anarchy in this country if more personnel begin to protest and refuse to take orders from the IG”, Barde stated.

Another member from Abia State, Mr. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, told the House that ordinarily, the job of the riot policemen was to quell riots.

“But, here we have the same policemen being the ones protesting. Who will stop them?

“What happened in Maiduguri was not only a show of shame but was also a dangerous indication that no where is safe in Nigeria”, he added.

A member from Benue State, Mr. Hassan Saleh, expressed fears that the Maiduguri incident might be a “tip of the iceberg, because there will be many such stories in other states.”

Saleh said, “The policemen who protested in Maiduguri were the courageous ones.

“I am sure that in the course of this investigation, we will get to hear worse things that happen to these policemen in terms of their welfare.”

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