Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

From TCNEWS

A leading civil rights advocacy group dedicated to promoting human rights, social justice, and good governance in Nigeria, the Centre for Human Rights Advocacy and Wholesome Society, CEHRAWS says addressing the injustices faced by the Nigeria Police Force, NPF in retirement should not only be a matter of fairness but also a critical step towards strengthening the integrity and effectiveness of law enforcement.

The body expressed deep concern over the alleged systemic injustices plaguing the retirement benefits of officers within the Nigeria Police Force, NPF in a release made available to our correspondent by Mr. Okoye, Chuka Peter, CEHRAWS Executive Director.

CEHRAWS, to this end, called for Equitable Retirement Packages; Housing Provision; Transparent Accountability; Psychological Support; and Education Benefits for the children of police officers, pointing out that the children of the police officers should be entitled to free education from primary to secondary school, as this will alleviate financial strain on families and ensure access to quality education for their offspring.

The release partly read, “The importance of this particular law enforcement agency – Police can never be over-emphasized due to how crucial internal security is. That is the reason no nation exists without the Police while some are known to have existed for decades without the military. So, it is disheartening to witness Police officers retiring after decades of service, only to receive meager gratuity sums, such as the recent case of one with 35 years of service receiving a mere 1.5 Million Naira. Meanwhile, the military receives far better perks at retirement while political figures serving shorter terms enjoy extravagant perks, including multiple properties, luxury cars, and generous pensions.

” The stark contrast in treatment between these dedicated officers, some sister agencies and political elites is a glaring testament to the inequity entrenched within the system.

“This stark disparity not only breeds resentment within the Police force but also undermines the morale and well-being of officers, pushing some into premature graves, while others resort to misconduct in a desperate bid to secure their future”.

After receiving several complaints emphasizing on the undeniable discrepancies in treatment, underscoring the necessity for equitable retirement benefits for those who commit their lives to serving and protecting this nation, CEHRAWS emphasized the urgent need for reform to rectify these perceived injustices.

To address the observed pressing issue, CEHRAWS has solicited that retirement benefits should be revised to accurately reflect the years of service, dedication, and sacrifice of police officers.

This according to the body include: increasing gratuity, pension allowances, and ensuring access to affordable healthcare.

Pix: Mr. Chuka Okoye.

CEHRAWS also stated that, “The government must prioritize providing dignified housing for retiring officers. Constructing homes for them in their final years of service will alleviate financial burdens and provide security for their families.

“There must be transparency and accountability in the management of retirement funds and benefits to prevent mismanagement and ensure officers receive their rightful dues.

“Recognizing the mental toll of policing and retirement, psychological support services should be readily available to assist officers in transitioning to civilian life and coping with the challenges of retirement.

“Additionally, CEHRAWS condemns in strong terms the disparity between managers of police institutions, including AIGs, DIGs, and IGPs, who have been exited from the Contributory Pension Scheme -CPS to Define Benefit Scheme -DBS, similar to the military, while officers from the ranks of constables to commissioners of police are left out of the DBS”.

CEHRAWS who prayed that the entire Police Force be enrolled in the DBS to curb incessant professional misconduct, maintained that swift and decisive action must be taken to rectify these disparities and uphold the dignity and well-being of those who choose to serve on the front lines of justice.

By NWAMARA

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