The Federal Government has paid each of the constables deployed for the Osun State governorship election a sum of N50,000 as special duty allowance.
A total of 18,426 police personnel have been deployed in Osun State for the governorship election coming up on Saturday, September 22.
Our correspondents gathered that the police had paid the money into the salary accounts of each officer participating in the exercise.
According to a source, while N50, 000 was paid to each of the policemen from the rank of constable to sergeant, those within the rank of Inspector, Assistant Superintendent of Police and Deputy Superintendent of Police were paid N120,000 each. Each of the eight Commissioners of Police deployed for the exercise was reportedly paid N250,000.
At least two constables confirmed to one of our correspondents that they received N50,000 each for the election duty.
Investigation reveals that an average of constable takes home N45,000 per month after tax deductions.
The Commissioner of Police in Osun State, Mr Fimihan Adeoye, when contacted on the telephone, also confirmed the payment to our Osun State correspondent, though he was silent on the amount.
He said the Federal Government had paid the allowances of the officers deployed for election duty.
He said, “The allowances of the officers deployed for the election have been paid. The allowances were paid into their accounts.”
He stated that the Inspector General of Police, Mr Idris Ibrahim, said at a stakeholders’ forum organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission that the funds had been made available to pay the policemen.
The IGP had said that the policemen that would be deployed for the election had been trained properly, adding that the Federal Government had also provided funds for the payment of the officers’ allowances for the election.
He said, “Arrangements have been concluded to deploy over 18,426 police personnel including conventional and PMF units, intelligence and technical teams to provide security.
“This number excludes the support services to be provided by other security personnel from the armed forces, the Immigration Service, the prisons, the Customs and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to complement the efforts of the police.
“Politicians and their supporters are advised to desist from actions that may precipitate violence before, during and after the election.
“The police officers deployed for this election have been lectured and educated on electoral conducts, behaviours, laws and offences, and are, therefore, expected to conduct themselves in a highly ethical manner.”
Meanwhile, the Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun State has warned policemen deployed in the state for the poll against conniving with politicians to rig the election.
The Chairman of the group, Mr Sulaiman Adeniyi, said this at a press conference in Osogbo on Tuesday.
He said policemen should be professional in their conduct and shun any overtures made to them by corrupt politicians to assist them in truncating the wishes of the people of the state.
Also, the Executive Chairman, Centre Against Corruption and Open Leadership, Mr Debo Adeniran, and a former Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Monday Ubani, said the allowances to the policemen were justified as it would insulate them against financial inducement by corrupt politicians.
Adeniran said, “Electoral duty presupposes that the policemen may not have time to stay in their hotels and they are not going to be with their families and the election day may be a day when not many food sellers would be available.
“So, they may need more money to feed themselves in highbrow hotels and eateries. That is one of the ways by which fraudulent politicians compromise the integrity of the police. So, I believe that may be the reason they are being paid that much; that they should be able to take care of themselves so that they will not be attracted to corruption of any sort.”
Ubani said, “If the government has actually increased the allowance of policemen posted for election, I don’t have anything against it. I don’t have anything against policemen being paid adequate allowances because they risk their lives. But let it be that that allowance does not have any inducement tone, and is not meant to make them do the wrong thing. The police must serve the interest of Nigerians and not the interest of any political party that is in power.”
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ademola Adeleke, said the payment of election duty allowance was suspicious.
Adeleke, who spoke to our correspondent through the Head of Media Unit of his campaign organisation, Mr Bamidele Salam, said voters, election observers and other organisations involved in monitoring the election should pay a close attention to activities of security agents during the poll.
He said the one week allowance of N50,000 which was far higher than the take-home pay of a constable was a source of worry to the people of the state and the candidate of the PDP.
Salam said, “ The Federal Government just made suspicious payment to policemen and officers deployed in Osun for the Saturday election. We are not saying that security agents should not be taken care of, but when an allowance meant for four days exercise is more than the take-home pay of an average policeman, this should give any reasonable person concern.
“ We hope that this is not meant to compromise them and make them willing tools in the hands of the candidate of the government in power.”