Prisons Staff Get Salaries After LEADERSHIP Report
by MSUE AZA, Kaduna
Nigerian Prisons Service officers have said they received one month payment after the media report that part of their salaries in Prisons Micro Finance Bank (PMFB) had been allegedly hijacked and diverted by the Controller-General of the Prison,Ahmed Ja’afaru.
Cross section of prison officers who spoke with LEADERSHIP in Kano,Kebbi,Adamawa and Kaduna states,while maintaining that they stand by the report commended the efforts of the media for reporting the wicked diversion of portions of their salaries to unknown account belonging to the Controller General of Prison.
The officers who pleaded anonymity said the Prison Micro Finance Bank in Kaduna covering the Northern States immediately paid them after the report of salaries’ diversion went viral last week, adding that the remaining part of the monthly salaries dedicated to the Micro Finance Bank must be paid back to the Micro Finance Bank.
Recall that, LEADERSHIP reported that no fewer than 2,000 prison officers have accused the Controller-General of the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS), Ahmed Ja’afaru, of diverting part of their salaries, using the service’s Micro Finance Bank.
According to the prison officers:”Our CG has released part of our June Prison welfare micro finance salaries now following last week’s report. We read the CG’s response saying the report of salaries hijack is false. The CG’s statement is a cover up of what is happening in Prison Service today. He is fond of not only hijacking part of our hard earned salaries which is supposed to be sent to our micro finance bank to settle loans by our colleagues. Our commercial banks after paying part of our salaries,officials of our micro finance bank cannot explain where part of our salaries went to.
“We can’t come out publicly,but if you have a brother or sister who is a warder you can interview him or her to confirm what we are telling you,we in Kebbi, Kano, Kaduna, Adamawa and all the states are affected as part of our salaries are supposed to be sent to Prison Micro Finance Bank every month but the reverse is the case. They know what we are saying but they will not accept,” they lamented.
In his reaction the PPRO, DCP Francis Enobore, in a statement on behalf of the controller general of Prison Service, described the prison officers’claims as mischievous and untrue.
CG’s statement reads in parts:”The attention of the Nigerian Prisons Authorities has been drawn to a publication in one of the daily newspapers captioned ‘Prison Officers Accuse CG of Hijacking Salaries’. It was alleged that over 2,000 staff have their salaries split into two with half paid into a ‘secret’ account allegedly owned by the CG in a Micro Finance Bank, presumably Prisons Micro Finance Bank (PMFB).
“We feel deeply restrained to respond to this spurious allegation because the medium used for the publication is seen as a reputable platform for credible information dissemination. It is however curious that no care was taken to carry out basic investigation into the accusation before publication thus making the allegation puerile and laughable.
“For the record, the PMFB is an independent business outfit of the Prisons Multipurpose Cooperative Society (PRISCO) with its governing board and under the supervision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Company (NDIC).
“Secondly, it is well known that personnel salaries are paid directly from CBN through the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) to beneficiaries account and staff members including the CG are at liberty to domicile their pay point in any bank of their choice.”
The statement added:” Thirdly and most amazing is the fact that no Prisons staff member has his salary domiciled in PMFB anywhere in the country therefore none receives salary through the bank. The question then is at what point does CG or indeed any third party have contact with personnel salary?
“It is also worrisome that the publisher is ‘not aware’ that BVN is a prerequisite for operating any bank account therefore ownership of ‘secret’ account where about 2,000 personnel salaries are paid is not possible.
“It is a common knowledge that if there is anytime the morale of prisons personnel is high, it is now. With the promotion of over 11,000 staff members many whose promotion have stagnated for over 15years, have regained their dignity and are more dedicated to their duties now than ever.
“The calm and peace in prisons across the country and cessation to incessant jailbreaks and prisoners escapes that once dotted the landscape is no doubt a testimony to positive changes in the service.” The CGP and the teeming dedicated officers remain focused and will not be distracted by frivolous accusations. The policy thrust is to ensure safe and humane custody of prisoners while providing avenues for effective rehabilitation and re-integration at the end of their sojourn and this we will achieve.
“The public is advised to discountenance the allegation as there is no iota of truth in it.” the statement said.
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