Olalekan Adetayo, Adelani Adepegba and Kayode Idowu
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday met behind closed doors with the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting came shortly after the news broke that some policemen were protesting against non-payment of their allowances in Maiduguri, Borno State.
It was, however, not clear if Idris was summoned over the protest or he decided on his own to brief Osinbajo on the development.
The meeting, which was held inside the Vice-President’s office, came at a time President Muhammadu Buhari was attending the 31st Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Mauritania.
The agenda of the meeting was not made public.
Idris did not speak with journalists at the end of the meeting.
The Presidency also had yet to issue any press statement on the meeting as of the time of filing this report.
Mobile policemen took to the streets of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Monday morning to protest six months’ unpaid allowances.
It was learnt that the officers were posted to the state in January to beef up the security of the troubled state, which had been bedevilled by Boko Haram insurgency for about a decade.
The protesting policemen, who were fully armed, marched in their hundreds to the Borno State Police Headquarters located on a major highway in the town.
The protesting policemen barricaded the highway, shooting sporadically into the air and scaring off motorists.
Some of the students and workers had to turn back to their homes as they could not pass through the barricade.
Some of the policemen, who spoke to one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, lamented that since January when they were deployed in the state on a special operation, they had not been paid their allowances.
They complained that many of them had had to endure inhuman treatment as they had to sleep on the corridor of the office on returning from duty at night.
When contacted, the Commissioner of Police in Borno State, Damian Chukwu, said he was aware of the protest.
He, however, said the delay in the payment of the policemen’s allowances might not be unconnected with the late signing of the budget.
It was later learnt that the IG waded into the crisis by directing the commissioner in charge of the Police Mobile Force to immediately relocate to Maiduguri to address the crisis.
In a press statement in Maiduguri, the spokesman for the Borno Police Command, Edet Okon, said, “The IG has consequently directed the Commissioner of Police in charge of Police Mobile Force to relocate to Borno State and address the situation.”
He added, “The Borno State Government has also intervened and pledged to assist to better the condition of the visiting PMF personnel.
“The Police High Command is aware of their plight and liaising with appropriate Federal Government agencies to address the situation.
“We are hopeful that since the 2018 budget has been signed by the Presidency, the allowances will be paid soon.
“Meanwhile, efforts by officers of the command yielded results as the situation was brought under control. Members of the public are, therefore, encouraged to go about their lawful activities without any fear or apprehension.”
However, the Force Spokesman, acting DCP Jimoh Moshood, had in a statement in Abuja denied reports that riot policemen protested over the delay in the payment of their special duty allowances in Maiduguri on Monday.
Moshood said that the policemen simply visited the Borno State Police Command headquarters to enquire about the delay of their allowances.
Moshood’s claim was, however, contrary to pictures circulating online, showing policemen holding leaves and firing their weapons in the air.
Moshood explained that the Inspector-General of Police, Idris, had directed the Commissioner of Police in Borno State to explain to the men why there was a delay in the payment of their allowances and to also assure them that “since the budget has been approved, the allowances will be expeditiously processed and paid without any further delay.”
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