Following the killing of two policemen in a robbery at a Zenith Bank branchin Owerri, Imo State, some men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force have decried the alleged abandonment of their family members by the police authorities.
The operatives, who spoke with our correspondents on condition of anonymity, lamented that meager welfare package, poor equipment and absence of a good insurance policy discouraged them from giving their best to the Force.
Many of them said they would never lay their lives on the lWhile two of the policemen, Sergeant Chukwudi Iboko and Sergeant Sunday Agbo, died from gunshot injuries sustained during the incident, the third policeman, Sergeant Otu Attang, lost one of his eyes.
The incident, however, gained public attention early June when footage of the bank’s Closed Circuit Television camera, which captured the moment of the robbery, was released to the public.ine.
PUNCH Metro had reported that a four-man gang attacked the bank on February 22, 2017, and shot the three cops on duty.
While two of the policemen, Sergeant Chukwudi Iboko and Sergeant Sunday Agbo, died from gunshot injuries sustained during the incident, the third policeman, Sergeant Otu Attang, lost one of his eyes.
The incident, however, gained public attention early June when footage of the bank’s Closed Circuit Television camera, which captured the moment of the robbery, was released to the public.
The 2.58 minutes video, which immediately went viral on the social media, showed a courageous Chukwudi engaging the robbers in a gun duel from a security post at the bank’s entrance.
One of the robbers, later identified as Ikechukwu Opara, was shot dead while advancing to the security post.
Soon after, Chukwudi could be seen running out of the security post as one of the robbers shot in his direction.
He was said to have died the next day, following gunshot injuries he sustained during the attack.
In an interview with The PUNCH Newspapers, Chukwudi’s widow, Rose, lamented that one of their eight children, Chukwuebuka, died from shock during the burial of the father.
The Imo State Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, however, announced on Tuesday that Zenith Bank had decided to compensate the families of the affected cops with scholarships, allowances, among others.
He promised on behalf of the police that the entitlements of the cops would be paid on time.
Some Nigerian policemen said the attitude of the police to the plight of the cops and their families had discouraged them from giving their all to the job.
A police inspector in Lagos said he saluted Chukwudi’s bravery after seeing a clip of the robbery.
He said, “Honestly, some of us are ready to do the work, but once you die on duty, nobody cares for your family. Even in the barracks you live, your family will be thrown out. Many policemen run away when they see robbers because they know that if they die, their family will suffer. It is not as if we are not trained to confront robbers.
“The police authorities need to do something that will encourage officers to serve the country well. The policemen died in the course of duty and deserved special rewards.
The police don’t have working life insurance scheme. It is only the Lagos State Government that considers such for policemen that die in the course of duty. The police only have N300,000 to give to your family members and it may take years before it gets to them. Our salaries are nothing to write home about. A police constable earns between N40,000 to N45,000. As an inspector, I don’t earn up to N70,000 and I’m almost two decades old in service.”
A divisional police officer serving in the Kwara State Police Command said unlike some other security agencies, remuneration and welfare packages for policemen were poor.
He said, “It takes the fear of God to be a good policeman. When policemen and officials of the Department of State Services were killed in Nasarawa State, the DSS gave the family of each of its slain officials N10m, while the police paid N500,000 to each policeman’s family. When the public cried out, the then Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, increased it to N1m. The DSS also built houses for the families of those officers; nothing like that from the police.
“A lot of policemen have died with nothing to show for their gallantry. There is no review of our welfare package. If you are a policeman, always pray that you are not harmed on duty. And in the Nigeria Police, it is zero feedback; you dare not complain.When I read in The PUNCH that the hero policeman, Chukwudi, had seven children, I pitied his family. He died as a hero, but without the media, he would have died in vain. There is nothing bad if the children are absorbed into police schools. The Zenith Bank should come to the rescue of the family by empowering the widow and securing the future of those children.
Source Punch Newspaper.