The attention of the Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Uba Sani, is hereby drawn to the continuous neglect of the welfare of members of the Kaduna State Vigilance Service. The degrading condition of the members’ welfare is assuming not just a disturbing but also dangerous dimension. Granted the service is voluntary, nonetheless, mobilizing, arming active and mostly unemployed youths with families to cater for without an adequate reward and compensation system is counterproductive.
The Service is currently suffering under the heavy and unbearable burden of poor funding, which needs the Governor’s urgent attention. For instance, the State’s 2022 full-year budget performance report shows that out of the revised budget of N160.4 million, only N13.2 million was released, a 8.3% performance. Further breakdown shows that out of the revised personnel budget of N37.1 million, only about N12.6 million was released, a performance of 33.9%. While overhead cost had a performance of 0.5% – that is only N653,950 was released out of a revised budget of N123.3 million.
It is increasingly becoming difficult for members of the Service to carry-out their functions in line with Part II, Section 5 (subsection 2) of the Kaduna State Vigilance Service (KADVS) Law, 2016. In fact, the poor state of working conditions is fast severing the existing trust and relationship with host communities due to transfer of aggression and other allegations. The plight of the over ten thousand members of the Service spread across the State is pitiable to say it mildly. Even those engaged by the Kaduna Facilities Management Agency (KADFAMA) are said not to have been paid for about six months.
Come to think of it, what do we really expect from an officially armed volunteer who is hungry, unable to provide for basic household needs and frustrated due to neglect – your guess is as good as mine. More pathetic are the stories of deceased members whose families have not been compensated. While the injured in the cause of supporting the fight against crime and insecurity have been abandoned to their fate. This level of neglect has demotivated the gallant men and women of the Service across the State.
More so that the State Vigilance Service Committee, which should be the coordinating body of the Service is yet to be fully constituted in line with Part III, Section 14, of the KADVS Law. Importantly, Part IV, Section 24, as regards financial provision, is being implemented in bridge. Particularly, sub-section 3,b, of the law which states, “the funds (of the Service) shall be applied for: payment of allowances to members of the Committee and Staff as determined by the Government.”
There is no better time than now for the Governor to fulfill his social contract, as articulated in the SUSTAIN blueprint, of “strengthening the Kaduna State Vigilance Service to complement the efforts of the federal security agencies.” Particularly, by fully constituting the State Vigilance Committee as well as ensuring the payment of backlog of allowances/liabilities owed the Service, timely payments of allowances, compensation to the injured members and deceased families, procurement of more equipment and weapons, and periodic training.
Finally, going forward, we look up to the Governor to mandate the timely and cash-backed releases of the 2023 total budget of N110.1 million for the Service. Instructively, according to the Quarter One 2023 Budget Performance Report only N3.1 million was released, a disturbing performance of 2.8% – with personnel cost getting 12.5%, overhead cost got 5.4%, while capital expenditure got 0%. Our dear Governor, a stitch in time saves nine, before the defenders start scoring own-goals.
Lets engage, ask the right questions and hold the government accountable.
Yusuf Ishaku Goje