The senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, has made mockery of the police for trying to link their failure exhibited by the protests in Maigumeri on July 2, 2018, to the purported delay in the 2018 budget.
Melaye, in a press statement made available to The Guardian in Lokoja yesterday, said the unusual incident was an aberration from what people have known the police for.
He said it was unusual because people always see policemen being deployed to prevent peaceful assembly and legitimate protests by Nigerians or in rare cases, assigned to provide security for privileged groups who stage solidarity rallies.
The senator, who spoke against the background that the Commissioner of Police (CP) in Borno State, Mr. Damian Chukwu, reportedly said the delay in the payment of the policemen’s allowances, might not be unconnected with the late passage of the 2018 budget.
“This excuse, in my view, is not tenable for the following: the executive arm of government is allowed to spend money to the tune of what was appropriated in the previous year under the same budget line for the first six months of a new budget year.
“Whereas the protesters’ claim was that they haven’t been paid for five months, which means since February 2018.”
He challenged the police to come clean, as there must be another reason why they have not paid other than the purported delay in passing the 2018 budget.
According to him, a proof that the excuse offered is nothing but a cover-up is the fact that other agents of government, such as ministers, civil servants and the Inspector-General of Police, have been drawing their allowances within the same time-frame without the budget delay being a hindrance.
“It is therefore an act of wickedness to use the excuse of delayed passage of the 2018 budget to deprive these valiant men sent to face death on behalf of all of us and for our collective security, of their legitimate entitlements,” he said.
He said to clear all doubts, the 2018 budget was delayed because some ministers and heads of parastatals failed to come before relevant committees of the National Assembly to defend their budget proposals in good time until the President gave a directive to compel them to do so.
He, therefore, advised the executive arm of government to stop passing the buck and face its duties of administering the nation properly.
He said the incident in Borno, which has put the nation’s floundering security at risk, was an embarrassment to the entire country and should never be allowed to repeat itself.