Politics

[ICYMI] Junior officers protest as NCoS makes new uniform necessary for promotion examination

There is presently disquiet among the many junior officers of the Nigerian Correctional Service over the failure of the authorities to offer them with the service’s new uniform free as they did for his or her senior colleagues.

The affected officers have additionally raised the alarm over the choice of the authorities to make the carrying of the brand new uniform a situation for them to participate in a promotion examination scheduled for between Monday, July 1, 2024, and Saturday, July 6, 2024.

Some of the affected personnel who spoke with PUNCH Online on Thursday famous that in uniformed organisations, the rank and recordsdata get uniform free “but the phase-out reverse is the case in NCoS.”

One of the officers who spoke on situation of anonymity for worry of victimisation mentioned, “The NCoS modified its uniform in 2019, and since then, there was a gradual phase-out of the outdated uniform. It began with the Controller-General to the Chief Superintendents of Corrections free in response to plan, and it stopped.

“Now, they’re forcing different officers to get the uniform from the open market when the due allocation was made totally free distribution of the uniform and different accoutrements.

“They are now using the upcoming promotion interview to activate this enforcement.”

Another affected officer merely mentioned, “They at all times await promotion interview time to implement such draconian insurance policies.

“The said uniform is not being given free as promised. It is not available in our command stores nationwide. Officers are resorting to self-help by buying in the open market. This is bad.”

Another officer famous that the service personnel have 4 totally different uniforms, lamenting that available in the market, a uniform “costs N4,000 per trouser length, and we are using three trouser lengths for one complete uniform. So, we need a minimum of N12,000 to buy the materials for one complete set of uniforms.”

He alleged that some folks bought the supplies of the brand new uniforms “from the central store and gave them out to some others to sell for them.”

Our correspondent sighted a round dated June 24, 2024, saying the timetable for the third batch of 2024 promotion examination for officers on the ranks of Inspector/Superintendent to Assistant Controller of Corrections.

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The round with reference quantity GEN.24/S.21/T2/VOL.IV/632 was signed by the Assistant Controller-General of Corrections (HR), Dr Ado Sale.

Aside from different situations stipulated for officers eligible to participate within the promotion examination, the round added in paragraph 7 that “Eligible officers must appear in the new NCoS uniforms.”

Copies of the round

When contacted by our correspondent, the spokesman for NCoS, Abubakar Umar mentioned, “The true position of the Service is that from Level 7 (junior officers) downwards, they are not only given free uniforms but also the accoutrements and the jungle boots, while the senior officers buy their uniforms.”

Umar added that the Controller-General of the NCoS “never asked anyone to go to the open market to buy uniforms. As long as it’s available, it’ll be distributed,” whereas noting that the availability of the brand new uniforms which have been launched in 2022 is “still ongoing considering the number of staff we have. So it’s being shared in phases.”

He mentioned all people would get the uniforms, including that the Service frowns at any officer who goes to purchase uniforms from the markets, as such officer is liable to sanctions.

When requested if officers who present up for the promotion examinations and accreditation and should not dressed within the new uniforms could be allowed to take part, the NCoS spokesman mentioned, “I’m not conscious of that stringent measure put in place. I can’t communicate on that.

“Before now, they (officers) knew that the distribution of uniforms is according to the ranks, down the ladder. It will be a kind of mischief for somebody to say because the screening and promotion examinations are around the corner; they are now using that as cheap publicity and not appreciating the Controller-General’s efforts.”

In 2022, the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari modified the identify of the Nigerian Prisons Service after signing the NCoS Act 2019 into regulation.

During the inauguration of the Information and Communications Technology command and management rooms, and the revealing of recent uniforms for the workers of the NCoS, amongst others, former Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, had said that the brand new uniforms symbolised “the transition from a punitive prison system to a reformatory corrections system that is now the philosophy of the service.”

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