By Afeez Hanafi
Hundreds of policemen on Monday stormed the Mechanised Salary Section (MSS) of the Lagos State Police Command in Oduduwa, in the Ikeja area of the state, to protest against what they described as “outrageous and unexpected” deductions from their salaries.
The policemen, comprising rank and files, as well as officers, said between N5,000 and N35,000 were deducted from their February salaries, while others lamented that they had not been paid for the month.
Some of the affected policemen, who spoke on condition of anonymity, blamed the development on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System of the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation which pays their salaries.
The majority of the cops, who complained that their salaries were meagre, stated that the deductions had dealt a blow to them as they could not meet up with their needs.
Officials at the MSS office were said to have told the aggrieved policemen that the centre was not responsible for the deduction and gave them forms to lodge their complaints.
A police inspector said he was amazed when he received an alert for his February salary and discovered that N19,800 had been deducted.
He said, “I got the alert on March 8. My salary is N70,000. They deducted N19,800 from it and I was paid about N50,000. It is a fraud. That was why I came here (MSS office) to complain. We were told that the deduction was made by the IPPIS.
“I am almost 20 years in service and I have a wife and children to cater to. The N70,000 is not enough for our upkeep in the first place. This is criminality of the highest order and we want it to stop.”
A policeman and father of three children, who is attached to a police unit in the Ikeja GRA, said he was also surcharged by N20,000, adding that the MSS had promised to send their complaints to Abuja.
He said when he arrived at the MSS office around 9am to lodge his complaint, he met over 300 policemen who had come for the same issue.
“Some of them said they got there at 7am. The IPPIS is responsible for the deduction without giving us any explanation. Even some officials at the MSS were also affected. I am aware that there is a circular regarding the delay in salary payment, but the deduction is strange and outrageous.” he added.
As of 3pm when our correspondent left the MSS office, some policemen were still filling complaint forms.
An Assistant Superintendent of Police, who forcefully parted with N35,000, said the deduction was an indication that the government did not care about the welfare of policemen.
He said, “If N35,000 was deducted from my salary as an ASP, imagine what would be deducted from my superiors’ salaries. Some of them were surcharged by N50,000 or N70,000. It is unfair.”
A corporal, who lamented that he had not been paid for the month of February, said many of his mates were paid between N5,000 and N7,000 less than their normal salary.
“The IPPSI is a new scheme introduced for the payment of our salary. As I speak to you, I have not got my February salary. The issue is not peculiar to policemen in Lagos,” he added.
A police sergeant serving in a police formation in Abuja told our correspondent on the telephone that N9,000 was deducted from her salary. She said although they had not been formally briefed on the reason for the deduction, she learnt it was meant for tax.
She said, “I felt sad when I saw my salary. While I was lamenting, a colleague, who is also a sergeant, said N15,000 was deducted from his salary. They are just stealing us blind.”
The Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Moshood Jimoh, in a statement on Monday said the command finance officers in the 42 MSS centres across the country had been trained to ensure that issues arising from the salary payment were collated and referred to the budget office at the Force headquarters for resolution.
“However, some challenges such as underpayment, omission of names on payroll, non-payment and overpayment of some police personnel currently being experienced in some state commands enrolled on the platform of the IPPIS in the payment of February 2018 salary, have been taken up with the office of the Accountant General of the Federation and it is being addressed…no policeman protested in any state of the country over migration to IPPIS,” the statement read in part.
When contacted on the telephone, the Head of Media Office of Accountant General of the Federation, Mrs. Kene Offie, said she was not aware of the deductions.
She said, “I will find out and get back to you tomorrow (Tuesday).”
By Afeez Hanafi