Officials from the Nigerian Correctional Service have vowed to go on strike in protest of low pay and inhumane working conditions.
According to reports, some disgruntled officials complained about the Federal Government’s alleged indifference to their needs despite the dangerous nature of their jobs.
The dissatisfied employees accused the Federal Government of giving more attention to prisoners and correctional facilities across the nation without considering the wellbeing of those manning the inmates and institutions, according to a document acquired by media on Tuesday in Uyo.
They demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari establish a welfare committee to look into their situation, claiming that they lack a service commission and effective representation in the National Assembly.
What the document stated
“Now the key question is, why (is) all of the Federal Government’s attention focused on the convicts, buildings, and others, then disregarding the wellbeing of the officers paid to care for and discipline the inmates in accordance with Mandela’s rule?” the paper asked.
“In line with the United Nations standard minimum rules (Mandela’s rules), the correctional officers are well paid and taken care of in all capacities to enable them carry out their legitimate responsibilities for the betterment of the inmates and the nation. But here in Nigeria, the reverse is the case.
“Our salaries and allowances are very poor, both senior and junior officers. We are traumatized to the extent that recently some staff committed suicide due to neglect and poor welfare. If this issue is not addressed, we are left with no option but to go on strike.
“We want to draw the attention of the Federal Government that the modus operandi of the NCS must be changed to be commensurate with the new nomenclature.
Officers and men should experience the correction firstly in different areas of their livelihood. They should be trained overseas to be able to adapt to the system of operation for better productivity and to reduce cases of recidivism”.
“Accommodations of the NCS officers both senior and junior are eyesores except those officers who are very lucky to work in Akwa Ibom Command and Ikot Ekpene custodial center. Thatch/mud houses are still used as accommodation by the NCS officers in different parts of the country. No befitting barracks”.
“The Nigerian Correctional Officers and men did not receive a diem and palliative from the Federal Government throughout the Covid-19 lockdown, but we are still committed to our duties, caring for the inmates, providing guards and security to all the correctional centers to avoid any unusual occurrences to the facilities in Nigeria.”
H.U Chukwuedo, the NCS Public Relations Officer, denied that the officers had threatened to strike.
“Well, I’m not aware of any threat of a strike by our officers, and I’ve received no information from any source that any of our employees are protesting about anything,” he added.