Following controversies that attended the enforcement of quit notice given to personnel of the Nigerian Police Force serving with the Nigeria Port Police Lagos by the Nigerian Ports Authority, insider sources have exonerated the authority noting that those making the otherwise internal issue a public one are doing so in bad faith.
Some of the sources revealed that the barracks located at Takwa Bay and Kirikiri respectively, were first served quit notice way back 2003 during the ports reform commencement, but was stalled by a court process.
This is even as one of the sources hinted that part of the reasons for the recovery of the barracks had to do with illegal occupation by retired personnel and their families, and in other cases by families of dead police officers whose entitlements have been settled by the NPF.
NPA according to the source carried out a screening exercise to determine those who were legitimate occupiers and proceeded to provide them with some financial assistance to help with new accommodation, noting however that after collecting the monies, many still refused to leave.
One of the sources who spoke with our reporter in confidence said, “This matter has been on since 2002. The police barracks at Tarkwa Bay and KLT have retired officers and families of deceased service men, there are very few serving officers.
“When NPA gave them an Eviction Notice in 2003, they went to court and obtained an injunction restraining government. A deal was brokered by the current IGP that they should be paid a token, not as compensation but resettlement fees, whatever that meant. But that was done.
“Those who were proved to be there as either families of deceased occupants or retirees were paid, but squatters were excluded. That was how the matter was resolved.”
Explaining the current move, the source said it smacks of ingratitude for anybody to query the authority over its decisions on how best to use the properties, noting that the properties have dilapidated over time and unsafe for habitation; being also one of the major reasons the authority has decided to concession the place.
He also lamented that for almost twenty years; NPA did not earn anything from the property and hence cannot continue to allow the place to waste.
“The place is dilapidated and unfit for human occupation as NPA did not carry out any repair works or maintenance since 2002. The whole place has been scheduled to be concessioned because NPA not been earning anything from the place.”
A daily newspaper recently reported that the decision of the NPA to sack those occupying the properties reportedly within two weeks have thrown them into panic and confusion; putting the numbers of those affected at 200.
According to the report, some policemen who spoke on the matter Monday said the barracks had been sold and that residents were paid N200,000 each to leave the premises.
The report notes that while the policemen were initially given three months to vacate the barracks, the deadline was reduced to two weeks. A policeman who reportedly spoke on condition of anonymity said the fate of over 200 occupants of the barracks is currently uncertain even as the affected officers were said to have appealed to the police authorities to intervene.
Another policeman reportedly said, “If you are a police officer deployed to the NPA, you will be allocated the barracks. They just came suddenly that they want to sell the place. They have even sold the place.
“The problem is that it is not the main authority that is disturbing us to vacate the place but one of our officers. We just want to plead with the authorities to help us.
“The current deputy commissioner of police just started asking for our account details in a rush and started transferring the money. We were not given any notice. They are just threatening us verbally. They threatened us to exit the barracks by the weekend.”