Some officers of the Federal Fire Service In Kaduna State have cried out against embezzlement of their allowances during the COVID-19 lockdown as well as illegal and preferential postings in the service.
Some of the officers, who spoke to SaharaReporters, lamented that the injustice was being perpetrated by some few corrupt senior officials in the Kaduna State office.
It was learnt that the latest episode was the sudden and inconsiderate “deployment” of about 33 of them to Sokoto State without payment of their outstanding allowances or relocation costs.
One of the affected officers told SaharaReporters that he had just been transferred to Kaduna State in March, and was now penned for another transfer to Sokoto, despite the rule in the service that transfers are to be done until after three years.
The absurd transfer came barely two months after the officers of the Federal Fire Service complained of the nonpayment of their salaries and allowances.
In the transfer document obtained by SaharaReporters, the names of 33 officers who had just been transferred on December 4 were signed by one Quintus Azogwu, who is the Deputy Controller, Manager, Administration and Supplies, for the Controller General.
The officers explained that Azogwu allegedly embezzled N5million during the lockdown.
One of the distraught officers, who had recently been transferred, said he had to borrow money to fund his movement as the transfer did not come with financial assistance.
He said, “And we have not been paid for two months now.
“It was just in March that I was transferred to Kaduna without any form of financial aid and then now, barely ten months after, we are being transferred from Kaduna to Sokoto without any form of aid.
“The two months’ salary is around N250,000.”
Another officer lamented that officers were not given any form of allowances except those at the top hierarchy, though the employment letter stated otherwise.
“In the employment letter, allowances for us are a grey area. When we complain, they would tell us that our salary is inclusive. The employment letter stated that we would be paid allowances, but when you come in, you would see that what is on the letter and what happens are different.”
The officer said he had been thinking about how to settle in Kaduna and bring his family to stay with him, but the unexpected transfer thwarted his plans to Sokoto.
He lamented the high rate of nepotism in the service, stating that promotions and training were done by “connections.”
He said, “In terms of posting, they post their children and friends to agencies where they get other allowances but those of us that don’t know anybody, they leave us at the office where there is no other benefit apart from salary.
“You might see one person going for training every year locally and internationally, but if you don’t know anybody in Abuja, you are never going for training. You might enter service with someone, and in the next two years, the person is two steps ahead of you.
“There is this thing we call proper placing; this is when they look at the year of graduation and promote you based on your year of graduation. But the truth is, if you don’t know anybody, there is no proper placing for you. It’s just a matter of who you know on the board.”
SaharaReporters, New York