The sorry state of Police and Army Barracks across the country, especially the Barracks located in Lagos State have received heavy condemnation from the public in recent times due to the depilatory state of the buildings inhabited by the brave men and women of the Nigerian Police and Army Force and their families.
The devastating buildings in the Barracks in Lagos State first got his major spotlight when one Nigerian Television News station beamed it lens on the Ikeja Police College in 2013 – the pictures and videos shown to the world to see, prompted the then President, Goodluck Jonathan to pay an unprecedented visit to the College; promising to transform the structures.
As reactions began to trail the coverage of the Police College in Ikeja, Nigerians began to switch attention to another set of buildings that needed urgent attention from the Nigerian Government. Nigerians began comparison of the Police College and the Army Barracks in Lagos State and other States within the Country.
Those who once lived in the Barracks and people who still call the Barracks home began to speak out about the dilapidated buildings of the Barracks, authenticating their words with pictures. Soon, this stole the searchlight from the Police College.
These buildings are below per, some are with weak foundations, some of them are not even painted, and they will not pass the test if credible building regulatory bodies visit the buildings; but sadly and expectedly, these buildings are still standing and not marked for demolition like the government does eagerly when it comes to Private homes and buildings.
The Government being the judge in their own case makes it easier for them to overlook certain things that would have caused the leveling of non-government building. Apart from the Police and Army Barracks not being a conducive environment that an individual can be advised to reside, the situation of the buildings is likely to lead to the death and injury of many if proper attention is not dedicated to it.
The Police Barracks building which a part collapsed few years ago at Ikeja Police Barracks, killing two people around 4:00 am. And according to reports, the Southwest zonal coordinator of the National Emergency Management Authority, NEMA, Yakubu Suleiman, stated that, “We have understanding that the building has failed integrity tests, twice.” the NEMA boss said this.
In Nigeria, it is believed that anything owned by Government or managed by government is destined for failure. So to many, it’s no news that the buildings are in such a state, but it only sad that men and women serving our Nation, putting their lives on the line when they kit-up to roam the street and purge us of criminals on a shallow pay, are sandwiched in a dilapidated building.
It is sad that the brave Policemen and Army who put their lives at risk every day, so that the citizens may enjoy peace are made to live in such a shallow building, while men and women whose job is to sit, deliberate and pass laws that are in most cases, not people oriented, live large in Mansions, private hotels both in Nigeria and outside Nigeria; with millions of naira pocketed every months.
The Nigerian Lawmakers; the House of Representatives earn a whooping $4000 while their counterpart at the Senate earns a total of $7000 weekly (this is excluding the extra payment they get for the position they head within the chamber).
Meanwhile, a Nigerian Police recruit (A newly employed officer undergoing training) gets less than $200 as Monthly Salary and $2400 as Annual Salary, while a Nigerian Police Constable (Grade Level 03) Monthly Salary is $350 and gets $4200 Annually.
So, it’s not surprising that the only thing the Nigerian Lawmakers overtime have shown they can give their life for is their seat in the Legislature, while the Nigerian Police and Army officers are expected to put the lives of the citizens they know not from Adam and foreigners residing in the country first.
Nigerian Government have often times played to the gallery, abandoning things that are of importance until it die a natural death, then begin campaign after election.
The best way to compensate the officers of the Police and Army Force is to provide them a better and top quality standard of living or demolish the depilated Barracks and increase their monthly salary, so that they can fund their apartment themselves.
Since the return to Democracy, every administration has had a budget set aside for the Police Service Commission, but how the Funds are disbursed is what is indecipherable till today; because nothing has changed in the Police Force except for Officers who come and go.
The Police officers still look unattractive and hungry, their black uniform still looks fade-out, they still carry a Rifle rather than the advisable Pistol, still complains of shortage of petrol when needed during emergency, the officers are still not kit-up enough to overpower assailants during exchange of fire, and they still live in a (unpainted) ramshackle Barrack.
It is left to see what the N35Billion and N100 Billion budgeted for the Interior Ministry (Police Service Commission inclusive) and Defence in 2019 budget allocations will be used for. Hopefully, it won’t be another year, another wasted budget, where the situation remains same, as the cries for attention is becoming deafening.
So, it is important for the Nigerian Government, both Federal and State to bear in mind that the officers of the Police and Army Force can’t function effectively as expected if their welfare is nothing to write home about.