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.
But the Controller-General who dismissed the allegation as funny and laughable said it has no iota of truth because he does not control the micro finance bank which has a board of directors.
According to the disgruntled prison officers, Ja’afaru has a secret account where money meant for staff salaries are kept.
Some of the prison warders who spoke with LEADERSHIP on condition of anonymity, apparently for fear of sanction by the prison authority, lamented that many of their colleagues in far Northern states like Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, among others had been involved in ghastly motor accidents while plying roads to the prisons micro finance bank in Kaduna which covers all the commands and zones in the North.
They said for two months now, they ended up getting nothing after borrowing money for transport fare to Kaduna from relatives or colleagues to withdraw part of their salaries sent to the micro finance bank by their original commercial banks.
One of the aggrieved prison warders said, “We have our prison service micro finance bank in Kaduna to take care of the Northern commands and zones, Enugu micro finance bank for South South and South East warders and Ibadan for South West warders. Our salaries have been divided into two; we do collect part of it from our various commercial banks and the other part is being sent to our micro finance bank but unfortunately, whenever they pay part of our salaries into micro finance bank, the money will be nowhere to be found.
“We later discovered that our Controller General has a secret account where part of our salaries is being diverted into. Over 2,000 warders have been affected and are frustrated. You are working and the same time begging to feed your family and pay school fee of your children. Even our Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society in Kuje is headed by a controller but it is indirectly controlled by our Controller- General. Our Oga should help us and not to kill us before our time.
“Over 2,000 prison officers and men are affected by what we are telling you. Many who came from far Northern states to withdraw their money through our micro finance bank here in Kaduna, apart from involving in accidents, ended up with nothing as no money in their accounts to cash. Many do borrow to come to Kaduna and end up spending weeks without seeing the money to withdraw”.
Another prison warder said, “Some of our children are out of school due to non-release of the money through the prison micro finance bank. We are pleading with the Federal Ministry of Interior and the federal government to intervene before things gets out of hands”.
Effort to get reaction from the Controller of Nigerian Prison Service,Kaduna State Command, Yazid Alhassan, on the allegation raised by the warders was not successful, but one of the officials of Kaduna State Prison Command who spoke in confidence not to offend the authorities said, “All what you got is true. We are all suffering here, not only in Kaduna State Command. Warders from Kebbi, Jigawa, Kano and I can say the entire states are facing this problem.
“Another issue is that if one collects loan from our micro finance bank, even after finishing paying the loan they will still continue deducting your salaries. We don’t know where our hard earned money is going to. The media should help us”.
When contacted, the public relations officer of the Service, Mr Francis Enobore, dismissed the allegation as funny and laughable, saying it has no iota of truth in it.
According to him, the controller-general does not control the micro finance bank which has a board of directors.
He said, “Salaries of staff are paid directly into their accounts. No officer is under compulsion to domicile his salary account in the micro finance bank. The controller-general does not have any share in the bank.
“I know of officers, whose salaries are domiciled in Police Micro Finance Bank. And in case of any delay in getting their salaries, I don’t see why the CG should be blamed. As far as I am concerned, the allegation has no iota of truth in it”.
Major Shake-Up In NPS Affects 32 Top Officers
Meanwhile, the Controller General of Prisons, Ja’afaru Ahmed, has announced a major shakeup in some of its directorates, formations and divisions in a desperate bid to restrategise.
Part of the shakeup includes the redeployment of Deputy Controller General (DCG), Shehu Kangiwa, who was moved to head the Finance& Account Directorate, while DCG Dorathy Atagiri takes charge of the Directorate of Health & Social Welfare Services.
In a statement he issued yesterday, spokesman of the Nigerian Prisons Service, Francis Enobore, disclosed that the massive shakeup followed a posting instruction issued on the August 1, 2017 and signed by the CGP.
The statement explained that the directive followed the need to have the recently promoted Deputy Controllers General take charge as heads of substantive Directorates and also address some administrative gaps pursuant to the present administration’s drive for excellent service delivery.
The statement indicated that Deputy Controller General (DCG), MBE Shemfe was moved to head the Directorate of Operations, while DCG Charles Ahaotu heads Works & Logistics Directorate.
DCG Ogundana Jerome who was the Zonal Coordinator in charge of Zone “A “Lagos now takes charge of the Directorate of Inmates Training & Productivity.
Others include ACG Emmanuel Ogundele who took over Prisons Academy, Ijebu-Igbo as Commandant, ACG KA Babalola who is moved to Zone A, Lagos as Zonal Coordinator, even as ACG AI Omale, CP Bukar Shema Hauwa and CP KN Okuori will proceed on retirement.
The statement also noted that the redeployment affected 21 other senior officers across board.
Last month, five Assistant Controllers General promoted to the rank of Deputy Controllers General of Prisons were formally decorated by the Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulraman Dambazau (retd).