From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja

As part of efforts to heal the wounds of #End-SAS protests, Federal Government has approved N18 billion for the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to cover the death benefits of police officers and shift duty/supervision allowance.

The money will cover rent subsidy, tax waivers for all junior police personnel as enjoyed by the military; payment of outstanding benefits to entitled personnel for the uninsured period of 2021 not covered under the Group Personal Accident Insurance.

The amount will also cover outstanding burial expenses of personnel for the period from January 2012 to July 2021; priority payments of annual insurance premiums for Group Personal Accident Insurance to cover immediate payment of benefits to beneficiaries and property insurance to provide cover for the repairs/replacement of damaged police infrastructure

The amount will equally cover priority payment of future Group Life Assurance premium in future budgets to cover immediate payment of death benefits to beneficiaries.

Declaring open a training programme of inter-agency committee for the monitoring and evaluation of the exercise, chairman of National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Ekpo Nta called on the Federal Ministries of Finance and Budget and National Planning to engage with the NPF and work out a realistic annual overhead budget that would enable the NPF to pay approved non-regular allowances.

“NSIWC should examine and present recommendations in respect of retirement benefits (pension and exit packages) for the NPF and other related agencies.

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“NSIWC should institute a mechanism for the regular monitoring of the payment of salaries and allowances of the NPF through electronic and physical platforms in line with extant regulations and conditions of service” he said

The chairman recalled that as a fallout of the #NEnd-SAS protests in October 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari requested NSIWC to expedite action on the review of the recommendations of the NPF.

To this effect, Nta noted, the commission undertook indepth studies of the issues relating to the recommendations and conditions of service of NPF through open and informal interactions with various stakeholders including the top hierarchy, rank and file of the NPF, the Ministry of Police Affairs, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the Budget Office of the Federation and the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President.

“NSIWC, during the assignment, obtained information on the NPF budget requests, approved appropriations and actual disbursements for a period spanning 10 years” he said

Recall that on Thursday October 8 2020, a nationwide protest on ENDSARS started after weeks of outrage and anger with videos and pictures showing police brutality, harassment and extortion in Nigeria.

The protesters accused police of several human rights violations, illegal “stop and searches”, illegal arrests and detentions, extra-judicial killings, sexual harassment of women and brutalising of young male Nigerians.

During the fracas, police property and infrastructure were destroyed. Some police personnel and protesters were equally murdered.

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