Some officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps have threatened to demand bribes from motorists if they are not paid their November salaries and allowances before Christmas.
The officials, who spoke to a Punch correspondent on condition of anonymity, said the Federal Government had refused to offer any explanation for the non-payment of the salaries and allowances.
The agency has, however, vowed to dismiss any official who takes bribes from members of the public.
They said this was more unfortunate because they had been asked to work during the holidays as part of the ‘Ember’ months’ campaign.
A female FRSC official, a single mother, said the non-payment of salaries had affected her as she had not been able to do any shopping for her children.
She stated, “Everyone knows that the prices of goods increase during Christmas and that is why most people try to do their shopping in early December. It is bad enough that we are witnessing a recession but the government should not worsen our condition by withholding our pay.
“How will I feed my children this Christmas? Where will I get the money to take them out to have fun? They cannot tell us not to extort money from motorists and at the same time deprive us of our salaries. It is unfair.”
Another official, who identified himself only as Patrick, said the government had no excuse for withholding their salaries since the FRSC was a revenue generating agency.
He said, “The government is being very unfair to us. Christmas is next week and many of us, who are male officials, have been asked to remain on the roads to ensure that the roads are safe. How can the agency ask me to spend Christmas on the roads and at the same time deprive me of my salary?
“They should not turn corps officials into policemen because that is what will happen if we are not paid.”
Another official, who identified himself only as Abiodun, told our correspondent that in the last five months, corps officials had been receiving salaries on the seventh day of the following month.
He added that the agency and the government had failed to explain to officials why things had gone bad.
“There have always been bad eggs in the agency but the fact that most officials were well paid sort of reduced the number of bad eggs. However, now that salaries are not being paid, the government seems to be giving officials the ‘green light’ to indulge in corrupt practices.
“You cannot flog me and ask me not to cry,” he added.
The Head of Media Relations and Strategy, FRSC, Mr. Bisi Kazeem, in his reaction, told our correspondent that the salary issue was not the fault of the agency but that of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, the platform through which Federal Government officials are paid.
Kazeem, however, said officials would not resort to bribes as they were paid separately for patrols.
He said, “The salary issue is from IPPIS, and not from us; so, I suggest you get in touch with the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
“The salary issue is being sorted out and anyone, who takes bribes, knows the implications. Anyone, who is caught collecting bribes, will be dismissed.”