Tuesday, September 1

 9/01/2015         No comments

Pandemonium has broken out in the Lagos State Railway Police Command barracks after about 60 policemen and their families were given notice to quit the facility. Three other police barracks attached to the Railway Police Station, Iddo, have already been served, while other barracks were billed to get the notice later.

According to a PUNCH Metro correspondent who visited Jericho Railway Police Barracks, Iddo, it was learnt that about 54 families staying in the five blocks had been served the notice.

The correspondent, who obtained a copy of the notice, observed that the policemen had been given a deadline of September 30, 2015, to take away their families and property.

The letter read in part,
“From Supol Trackpol Iddo, to the occupants of Railway Police Barrack, Block A and B Botanical Gardens Barracks, Oyingbo, Compol Trackpol, Lagos Eb. You are hereby directed by this directive, given 60 days to vacate the room you are occupying. The effective date is from 31/07/2015 to 30/09/2015. You are warned to please comply.”
An inspector, who was among those affected, lamented that the evacuation was unfair, as there was no cogent reason stated in the letter.

He added that moving from the apartment, for which N10,000 was being deducted monthly from his salary as rent, would put his family in hardship.
He said, “All has not been well in the barracks since most families got that letter. There are five blocks in this barrack, and each block has about 27 rooms. I stay in one of them with my family of four, and I am attached to the Lagos State Police Command. The notice to quit was given to me in August, and it came as a rude shock.

“Some of us have approached the Iddo Police Station, but the Divisional Police Officer said the order was from above. This is the Nigeria Police Force’s property, and it is unfair to send some officers away because they are not serving in the Railway command. We want the Inspector General of Police to be aware of this development and help us out.”

The correspondent learnt that the barracks concerned served only the rank-and-file in the police.
Another affected policeman, a sergeant, said the shops attached to the barracks, which were formerly being used by wives of policemen, had earlier been commercialised, and the women sent out.

He said, “This is a job, where you buy everything except the guns that you use. While the month has not ended, you will have borrowed almost more than your salary can repay. The shops at the entrance of the barracks, where our wives were supposed to do their businesses, have been sold to outsiders.

“And added to this misery is the notice to quit that almost every family was served. Why should the police be discriminating against its officers? If the barracks belong to the Nigeria Police Force, why should a command want to personalise it? All of us affected serve in Lagos, and we are still being thrown out of a barracks in Lagos?”

When the correspondent got to the Oyingbo barracks behind the magistrate’s court complex, it was learnt that some families had also been served the letter.

The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Railway Police Command, Pius Imue, who confirmed that the notice was sent out, said only three categories of persons were affected.

He said,
“This is an internal police arrangement, so how does it concern the press? Anyway, the letters served concerned only three groups of people; retired policemen who are still staying in the barracks; the civilians staying in the barracks; and the officers serving outside Lagos State.
“I was posted to Lagos on March 13, 2015. The following day, I handed over the keys to my apartment in Abuja to my successor. So, there is no wickedness in what we are doing. It is as simple as that.”


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