Officers and men of the Nigerian Correctional Service have said that they repeatedly collect loans from financial institutions and other facilities to pay for uniforms, buy Annual Performance Evaluation Report (APER) forms, pay for promotion after attending promotion interviews and do other things the Service ought to do for them.
The prison staff said this in their response to the Controller-General’s warning that personnel of the Service engaging in the indiscriminate collection of loans would be sanctioned.
SaharaReporters earlier reported that the Controller-General, Haliru Nababa, had in a circular dated July 13, 2023, directed all Zonal Coordinators, Controllers (I/C Commands), Commandants of Training Colleges/ Schools of the Service across the country to sanction officers and men of the Service engaging in collection of loans from financial institutions and other loan facilities.
Nababa directed the Zonal Coordinators, Controllers (I/C Commands), and Commandants of Training Colleges/ Schools to fish out a few as “scapegoats” and reprimand them accordingly.
“The peak of financial embarrassment is when at the end of the month an officer is left with an insignificant fraction of his salary after all loan deductions from the source is made and is unable to service other loans or left with no substantial balance as take home.
“This unhealthy practice is not only telling on the productivity of the officers concerned but also impacting negatively on the image of the service in the eyes of the public,” Nababa who feared that the situation may dent the image of NCoS said.
Responding to the Controller-General’s directive in a statement made available to SaharaReporters, some prison staff described leaders of the Service as a “very shameless set of leaders”.
“We borrow to see if we can cover up since the prison authority deducts from our salary monthly to finance Prisco (A microfinance bank that can’t give us a loan even when we are the ones financing the bank,” they said.
The staff further said, “We borrow to see if we can meet up to get a new apartment whenever we are on transfer since you recklessly transfer your staff from one state to the other without giving them their due transfer allowances even though you make the transfer claims from the federal government.
“We borrow to rent houses since the barracks we leave is not even conducive enough to train dogs let alone to be called a residence for officers.
“We borrow to buy APER FORM which you people have made a normal mandatory annual purchase from which you people extort from us annually which you don’t even use for promotion because you don’t even use our APER FORM for promotions..you people only promote those you wish to promote whether they fill APER FORM or not.
“Please we borrow to see if we can pay in order to be promoted after attending promotion interviews and performing excellently because if we did not pay, you will choose to promote those that paid so we have to borrow and pay as others are paying.
“We also borrow to pay for our uniforms which ordinarily were meant to be given free of charge.”
They accused the prison authorities of relegating their staff to the background, saying, “Enough is enough Nigeria Prison Authority.”
“You people think we the staff are fools. Our welfare means nothing to you people. The billions you collect from the annual budget are because your staff is working.
“Tell the federal government we are suffering. Every day, you present the inmates’ welfare to the government because that is where you eat from.”
They warned the prison authorities that if they fail to treat their staff well, “the inmates will not be safe”.
“We kept quiet and you think we are fools,” they added. ojenews