Unpaid security personnels deployed to curtail smugglers at the Nigeria borders laments: details below


 The Security personnel that was deployed to (man key) Nigerian land borders have not yet been paid their mandatory allowance for ten months according to sources 

An inter-agency operation tagged Joint Border Drill Operation was jointly piloted by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to ensure total compliance with the ban on movements along the border routes.

Though the borders were reopened in December 2020, the operatives were retained and re-sign to continue surveillance and counter-smuggling. The codename for the operation was changed to Joint Border Patrol.

Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), retired Col. Hameed Ali, confirmed the change of status and expectations from the operation while speaking in February.

“We just set up a joint border patrol. It is an offshoot of the joint border drill, which was the operation we launched to close our borders,” Ali said.

In addition to other responsibilities, the operatives were tasked to stop the importation of illegal arms and contraband goods as part of efforts to address rising security challenges while at the same time boosting local production of assorted food items like rice, oil, among others.

The non-payment of the Duty Travel Allowance (DTA) for a long period is affecting morale of officers and threatening a key security operation of the country, security sources familiar with happenings said.

The deployed officers are expected to curtail smuggling and protect the territorial integrity of the country which is largely porous.

According sources Some of the affected security personnel complained on the condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, said months of unpaid allowances had rendered them all covered in debts and unable to meet up obligations to hoteliers, landlords and food vendors.

Besides low morale, officers involved in the exercise lamented that the government’s inability to meet up with its obligation is affecting the operation as it was becoming increasingly difficult to enforce discipline and ensure accountability in the line of duty.

The owed allowances were meant to cater for accommodation and feeding of the personnel who were deployed specifically to man the country’s borders following the closure of the land borders in August 2019.

The federal government, through the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had justified the closure of the land borders at the time, which she said will help the government address the proliferation of arms and influx of other contrabands.

The security operatives were deployed to key towns affected by the border closure including Idi-iroko, Seme, Jibia, Kamba, Kongolom, Maigatari and Illela

“Like with all special operations, we were posted from different areas to join this new operation and that was why we were entitled to DTA,” one customs officer said.

The deployed operatives were placed on a daily allowance of N12, 000 for officers and N6,000 for junior ranks.

While payments were made for the first few months of the operations, largely in arrears of two to three months, it became prolonged later with personnel having to wait for months before getting anything.

Last year, after a long delay, arrears for four months was paid. However, since May last year, not a dime was paid to the personnel in the name of the allowances.


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