The Federal Road Safety Commission, shortchanged its personnel deployed for the just-concluded general elections, PREMIUM TIMES can report today.
The FRSC paid the lowest allowance to its personnel with senior officers receiving N4, 000 while marshals got only N2, 000 per Election Day.
The amount was meant to cover transport and feeding for the officers and marshals who reported for election duties as early as 7am and closed late on the two election days.
A marshal, who was deployed to one of the riverine communities in the South-South zone, told PREMIUM TIMES that the N2, 000 he received did not cover her transport.
The FRSC personnel, who cannot be named for his safety and job security, said senior officers of the commission received far lower in allowances when compared with their counterparts in the other military and para-military agencies.
“I cannot understand why anybody could give me N2, 000 and expect me to travel several kilometers from the town to cover an election in a community that can only be reached by boat,” the angry marshal said.
“I know that our counterparts in the police collected N15, 000 in election duty allowances, while those in the military and the SSS collected more.”
PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report that while the military paid N100, 000 to its senior officers, N50, 000 to warrant officers and N25, 000 to its rank and file, the Nigeria Police paid N25, 000 to its senior officers, N20, 000 to its inspectors and N15, 000 to its rank and file.
The election duty allowances were paid to officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force across the country irrespective of whether they were directly deployed for the elections or not.
Investigations by this newspaper, however, revealed that payments to security agencies that deployed personnel for election duties were not done directly by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
It was also found that INEC had no budget to cover the allowances and logistics for the security agents that were deployed for the assignment
However, the allowances and logistics of security agencies that deployed their personnel for the polls where provided by the office of the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, through the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, otherwise known as ICCES.
The committee was chaired by Mr. Dasuki while the INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, served as co-chairman.
Explaining the committee’s role to the electoral process, Mr. Jega had said the ICCES “is an advisory body to support INEC to ensure effective security around elections, which is critical to the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in 2011 and beyond”.
“Through ICCES, INEC sought to give a greater role to security agencies to provide well-coordinated plans for securing elections. It was also intended to bring local perspectives of security agencies in the states into planning and implementing election security.
“Rather than a single, top-down plan often developed in Abuja, ICCES sought to give more voice to security officials ‘on the ground’ to provide adequate local context to election security,” Mr. Jega said.
The ICCES consisted of 16 agencies, including the office of the NSA, the Police Service Commission, the Nigerian Air Force, the Nigerian Army and the National Intelligence Agency.
Others were the Nigeria Immigrations Service, the FRSC, the Nigerian Prisons Service, the Nigeria Police Force, the Ministry of Police Affairs, the Nigerian Navy, the State Security Services, the Nigerian Customs Service, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, the NSCDC and the National Youth Service Corps.
While the Nigeria Police contributed 350,000 officers and men during the elections, the NSCDS contributed 60,000 officers and men.
PREMIUM TIMES could not ascertain the number of officers and men deployed by the other security agencies.
The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu, told PREMIUM TIMES the commission had no budget for security agents deployed for election duties.
However, he noted that the funds meant for security agencies that participated in the conduct of the elections where paid through the office of the NSA.
“INEC had no budget to pay election duty allowances of security agents engaged during the elections,” Mr. Idowu said.
“Allowances to security agencies were paid from the office of the National Security Adviser through the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security.
“Each of the agencies involved was asked to submit a budget to the office of the NSA and based on what was presented, approvals were made.”
When contacted, the Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi, confirmed that the FRSC received financial allocation alongside other agencies involved in the electoral process.
Mr. Oyeyemi, who spoke through the Corps Public Education Officer, Imoh Etuk, stated that the funds were meant to fulfill FRSC’s mandate on safety management and traffic administration.
Besides this mandate, he said the FRSC fueled its vehicles, tow trucks and motorbikes as well as offer allowances to its personnel.
The corps did not, however, mention how much it paid to its personnel and did not also debunk the claim that its marshals were paid N4, 000 while its officers got N8, 000 during the two elections days.
“In line with its statutory responsibility to ensure sanity on the nation’s highways during the general elections, the Federal Road Safety Corps having envisaged high volume of traffic nationwide prior to the elections; drew a road map towards crash-free electoral process,” part of the email sent by the corps reads.
“This arrangement also involved deployment of personnel and logistics across its 331 formations to ensure optimal coverage of designated critical corridors of the highways.
“In the course of these internal initiatives, the Corps was co-opted into National Security Advisory Committee with other Para-Military agencies to undertake specific roles throughout the duration of the general elections such as routine patrols, rescue services and other traffic-related functions.”
Pursuant to its responsibility, Mr. Boboye said the FRSC deployed 300 patrol vehicles, 28 ambulances, 97 motor bikes and medium/heavy duty tow trucks along designated routes across the country.
He said officers and marshals were duly engaged through financial disbursement according to the funds made available.
“However, in view of the security-related nature of this national duty, it is only the office of the National Security Adviser that can make comments on the budgetary allocations.
“Interestingly, the entire process took place with minimal cases of traffic crashes reported across the country during the 2 phases of the general elections,” Mr. Oyeyemi said.
Responding to questions from this newspaper, the Force Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojukwu, confirmed that the police high command paid election duty allowances to its personnel across the country.
Mr. Ojukwu insisted that the police high command gave approval for the allowances to be paid to personnel even before they were deployed.
“The Nigeria Police Force deployed about 350, 000 personnel for the just concluded elections,” the Force PRO said.
“I can tell you that election duty allowances were paid one week before the commencement of the elections.”
When asked whether any of the commands or formations in the country reneged in the payment of the allowances, Mr. Ojukwu responded in the negative.