An alleged selective distribution of the election duty wages to largely employees at the agency headquarters is the subject of a planned protest by some Nigerian Correctional agency, NCS, employees in Cross River State.
The prison official asserted that specific members of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) were designated Election Duty Allowances for the most recent general elections. They also claimed that their senior colleagues were advised not to divert the allowances when they were paid, as they claimed was done in 2019.
Disclosing the idea of staging a peaceful protest to drive home their demands for payments, some affected officers who spoke anonymously claimed that many actively participated in the election duty but the NCS authorities refused to pay them.
One of them said, ‘’Just like in the 2019 general elections, the NCS authorities selected only the headquarters staff and paid them allowances, meanwhile, other sister agencies paid every staff, whether they are involved in election duty or not.
‘’This is not just unfortunate but pathetic. It is unacceptable to us that only those at the headquarters were paid even when we were all actively involved in the election duties.
Another personnel said, ‘’ The laws of our country grant us the legitimate right to protest. If we are not paid, we will consider the option of staging a protest.
‘’There is tension right now in prison formations. Even the inmates are not happy over the inhuman treatment of us. There are obvious lamentations and disquiet from officers working in the yards and this has weakened our morale’’
A senior officer who asked not to be named, said, ‘’ I was on annual leave and had to be recalled from leave to assist in beefing up security in the prison due to the general elections. Am I not worthy of the allowances? Must we all work at the headquarters?”
He also lamented that personnel of the NCS are treated like ‘slaves’ as they work under harsh conditions without commensurate pay.
‘’They are treating those of us working in correctional centres as slaves.
We are working in a highly hazardous environment where tuberculosis, chicken pox, covid and other contagious diseases are so alarming yet no hazard allowances.
‘’ We risk our lives daily. We have had some colleagues ambushed while escorting inmates to court, yet no incentives.
A few days ago, illicit items that found their way into correctional centres worth N150 million were destroyed at the national headquarters, now tell me how such illicit acts would stop in prisons when you are paying an inspector of the service N68,000 as a monthly salary and his counterpart in a sister agency is receiving N180,000’’, he lamented.