3,000 Customs Officers Grumble Over Owed 2023 General Election Duty Allowances

No fewer than 3091 officers of the Nigeria Customs Service who worked during the 2023 general elections across the country are yet to receive their entitlements, SaharaReporters has gathered.


This was confirmed by some of the customs officers who spoke to SaharaReporters during telephone conversations on Sunday morning.


According to a letter with a list of the 3091 officers, titled, ‘Re: Forwarding List Of Officers Deployed For 2023 General Election Duties,’ the Customs officers were “deployed to complement the strength of the Nigeria Police during the 2023 General Elections”. The letter dated February 8, 2023, was signed by M Abba-Kura, Acting Deputy Comptroller-General (E,I&I) for the Comptroller-General of Customs.


The breakdown of the deployed officers by state reads: Abia 24, Adamawa 92, Akwa Ibom 44, Anambra 23, Bauchi 146, Bayelsa 53, Benue 92, Borno 95, Cross River 69, Delta 41, Ebonyi 23, Edo 26, Ekiti 47, Enugu 43, FCT 178, Gombe 44, Imo 74, Jigawa 102, Kaduna 174, Kano 242, Kastina 143, Kebbi 30, Kogi 76, Kwara 124, Lagos 133, Nasarawa 99, Niger 139, Ogun 89 Ondo 47, Osun 72, Oyo 127, Plateau 101, Rivers 75, Sokoto 92, Taraba 66, Yobe 63, and Zamfara 30.


An officer deployed in Abia State, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimised, expressed surprise that he was yet to be paid his election duty allowances despite putting his life in danger during the elections.


“I could not believe that up till now, we are still talking about this money. INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) did not motivate us at all despite putting our lives on the line to serve them and the country for the election,” the officer lamented.

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Another officer in Bauchi described the situation as unfair to Customs officers.


According to him, other security agencies and ad hoc staff involved in the elections have been paid.


He said, “We have heard that INEC has paid some other security officers who worked for them, then why are they yet to pay us? It is still a surprise.”


However, an officer deployed to Adamawa State told SaharaReporters that he was informed by his “superiors that the process for payment of their entitlements had begun”.


All the officers who spoke to SaharaReporters said they could not ascertain the amount of their money they are entitled to because the electoral body and Customs Service did not give them that information before their deployment.


However, they said they had made multiple requests to relevant stakeholders regarding the delay of their money but their efforts have not yielded results yet.


On February 25, 2023, general elections were conducted in Nigeria to elect the president and vice president, as well as members of the Senate and House of Representatives, while governorship and State Assembly elections were held on March 18, 2023.


On March 21, SaharaReporters similarly reported that officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) pleaded with the leadership of the agency to offset their election duty allowances.


According to them, they spent personal funds throughout the polls, with the expectation that they would be refunded.


“The Nigeria immigration Service has refused to pay us election allowance even when all other agencies have paid,” one of them had said.

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“Many of us paid for hotel and other expenses during the just concluded presidential election, but all we get is that they are working on the payment.


“But I tell you sincerely that few bigwigs in Abuja will gather to share the money and victimise anyone who tries to raise his or her head up. We are calling on the authorities to pay our allowances and let it not be ‘promise and fail’ as usual.”


Another official had said, “The allowances for election duties were supposed to be paid before February 25 into our accounts but nobody has received a dime.


“The officers among us are entitled to N70,000, while the rank and file are entitled to N30,000. We have done all they asked us to do and everybody is already fed up.”





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