Police have reportedly failed to pay promised rent for 22,000 officers after quit notice from barracks.
The Next Edition reports that the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has failed to pay the rent of 22,500 police officers to be displaced from the 25 barracks marked for demolition by the Lagos State government seven months ago.
The barracks had been recommended for demolition for not meeting the structural integrity test and for vacating the barracks between May 1 and 30 to give access to rebuilding activities affected officers were promised a particular amount of money to rent temporary accommodation for two years, which the rehabilitation project is expected to last.
Former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Alkali Baba, on May 3, announced the demolition, redevelopment, and reconstruction of 25 barracks and facilities in full compliance with the Lagos State government’s recommendations.
The affected barracks are Ijeh Police Barracks, Obalende; Highway Police Barracks, Ikeja; K9 Police Barracks, Keffi Street, Ikoyi; Falomo Police Barracks (A and B), Ikoyi; Bar Beach Police Barracks, Victoria Island; MOPOL 20 Barracks, Ikeja; Women Police Barracks, Obalende; MOPOL 2 Police Barracks, Keffi Street, Ikoyi; Mounted Troop, Ribadu Road, Ikoyi and Queen Barracks, Apapa.
Others are the FPRO Annex Office and Barracks, Ijora Olopa; Iponrin Police Barracks, Surulere; Adekunle Police Barracks, Yaba; Federal Highway Patrol Office, Yaba; Alausa Police Barracks, Ikeja; Mounted Troop, Ikeja; Okesuna Police Barracks, Obalende; Mccarthy Barracks, Obalende; Force Headquarters Annex, Obalende; Obalende Police Barracks, Obalende; Bourdillon Police Barracks, Ikoyi; New Staff Quarters, Ikeja; Elere Police Barracks, Agege; Onikan Officers Mess, Ikoyi and Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU), Milverton Street, Ikoyi.
However, seven months after the May deadline, NPF has not started paying the rent to the estimated 22,500 police officers living in the affected barracks.
According to The Guardian, most officers living in the barracks are unaware of the relocation plan. Also, none of the affected police officers has been debriefed by barracks officials on the quit notice.
With police authorities’ lackadaisical approach towards the project, many officers and their dependents living in the derelict structures are confused about the next line of action.
It was learned that apart from the project cost, estimated to run in billions of Naira, the financial implications of relocating the affected officers to a city like Lagos are humongous and may not be feasible with the current national economic realities.
Speaking with The Guardian, some officers queried the motive behind the plan, stressing that police authorities have been unable to complete the redevelopment of the barracks at Government Reserved Area (GRA), Ikeja, which started during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
They alleged that they were doing their best to take care of the buildings, but the police hierarchy was doing less to improve the living conditions of the officers.
The officers argued that it would be difficult to carry out the exercise because each of the marked barracks had no fewer than 1,000 inhabitants, coupled with relatives and friends.
An officer who pleaded for anonymity said: “I am not against relocation of officers but before the relocation, they should provide a conducive place for us to stay. The buildings are long overdue for renovation.
“It has never been conducive living here, but when you don’t get what you need, you have to manage what is provided. We come back from work to live in a place that is not conducive, and it affects our work and delivery. This is Ikoyi and if they are talking about relocation, they should consider that Ikoyi is not Iyana Ipaja, Ikorodu or Oshodi.”
Another officer said: “We have been living in this condition and the police authorities have been shying away from their responsibilities. I buy my own uniform; we take care of the buildings within the barracks. I am still studying and it’s not as if they care about my certificate, but I’m doing my best to upgrade myself.”