Staff of the Federal Fire Service have raised the alarm over the non-payment of two months allowances by the agency.
The staff, who spoke with SaharaReporters, revealed that the agency had refused to pay them their salaries and allowances with no “tangible reasons”.
They said that despite the non-payment of salaries, they were being made to resume to the office and do daily activities as well as respond to emergencies.
The staff, who pleaded anonymity, lamented that they were being exposed to hardship as the economic situation in the country continued to bite harder.
“It is over 60 days of work at the Federal Fire Service and we are yet to receive our salary, two months salary.
“The last salary we received was in August as the pay for the month.
“We are living in hardship due to the non-payment of the salary. The situation is getting worse for us as many of us are family man and we rely on this monthly pay we get,” said one of the staff.
Another staff, confirmed the non-payment of salaries, explained that it had been difficult to cope, as the salary was the only means of sustenance for his family.
He said, “Normally, we receive our salary from the 26th to 29th of every month.
“When we were not paid for September, the agency did not say anything and we were wondering what is going on.
“Since then, I have had to ration food for my family and make some sacrifices so as to sustain the family.
“Sometimes, I trek long distance when going to work, so I can reduce how much I spend on transportation daily.”
In response, the Federal Fire Service said the non-payment of salaries was due to the insufficient funds in the agency’s personnel cost head.
In a circular on October 14, 2020, and signed by Agholor Michael for the Director, Finance and Account of the Federal Fire Service, the agency also said that other agencies were also suffering the same fate as it said efforts were in place to resolve the non-payment.
“This is to inform the personnel of the service that delay in the payment of September 2020 salary was due to the insufficient funds in the Federal Fire Service personnel cost head just like other MDAs.
“Consequent upon the above, relevant agencies have been contacted and efforts are in top gear to resolve the issue as soon as possible,” the circular reads.
The staff of the agency, however, debunked the claim of the fire service that other agencies were not being paid.
“We are under the Ministry of Interior together with Nigerian Correctional Service and the Immigration Service and those two MDAs were paid for September and are receiving October payment,” the staff said.
They pleaded to the government and Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, to intervene in their plight and direct the immediate and prompt payment of their salaries.
“We call on the Minister of Interior and Federal Government to please intervene in our issue as we borrow money to buy food and pay for our transport to go to work, some of us can’t even pay for their medical bills,” they said.