Officials of the Nigerian Correctional Service have threatened to embark on strike over what they described as meagre salaries and poor working conditions.
The warders are asking President Muhammadu Buhari and the federal government, to set up a welfare committee that will look into their welfare, saying they do not have a service commission or effective representation in the National Assembly.
It was gathered that some aggrieved officials complained over their alleged neglect by the Federal Government despite the hazardous nature of their work.
According to a document obtained by journalists in Uyo, the aggrieved workers accused the Federal Government of paying more attention to inmates and the correctional facilities across the country, without consideration for the welfare of those manning the inmates and the facilities.
The document reads: “Now the big question is, why (is) all the attention of the Federal Government focusing on the inmates, buildings and others, then neglecting the welfare of the officers employed to take care and correct the inmates in line with the Mandela’s rule?
“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 traumatised 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 a 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 centre. 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 centres to avoid any unusual occurrences to the facilities in Nigeria.”
However, the NCS Public Relations Officer, H.U Chukwuedo, has denied knowledge of any strike threat by the officers.
When contacted he said, “Well I’m not aware of any threat by our officers to go on strike and I’ve not even got the lead from any quarter that any of our staff is protesting over anything”.