Personnel of the Nigeria Police Force recruited in 2007/2008 into the Traffic Warden Service have lamented what they described as their stagnated career.

They lamented that they had only been promoted twice in the entire 16 years that they had been in service.

They described as demoralising the fact that their colleagues in the general duty department, recruited in the same 2007, had earned several promotions and are now on the rank of Inspector.

The Traffic Warden Service was established in 1975 as a section of the Nigeria Police Force to enforce traffic rules.

A member of the 2007 recruits, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimised, said it appeared there was a calculated attempt to maginalise officers in the  Traffic Warden Service.

 “We that were recruited in  2007 and 2008 have experienced promotion only twice. On the other hand, our colleagues in the general duty (department) who were recruited at the same time as us in 2007 have reached the rank of Inspector. Ironically, they and our senior colleagues recruited into the Traffic Warden Service in 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992 are now on the same rank of Inspector.”

The officer said all appeals to the police authorities over the matter seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

 “Many Nigerians have spoken to our boss (Inspector General of Police) but  he knows why he is doing it. And they said we are part and parcel of the Nigeria Police Force when Senator Buhari of Oyo North and some members of the lower chamber sponsored a bill to give us autonomy. We just want you to urge them to look into our case.

“For instance, I am a holder and I have a family to feed. They should help us because the entire scenario is frustrating,” the officer added.

A second officer, who also spoke to The PUNCH on condition of anonymity, bitterly lamented the fate of officers in the Traffic Warden Service.

 “Can you believe that our senior colleagues who were recruited in 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1993 have only been promoted four times? Can you imagine? They have only been promoted four times in 34 years! Whereas, their colleagues in the general duty department have been promoted at least seven times. The discrimination is too much. Why the discrimination?” the officer queried.

 According to him, the police authorities used to claim that the peak rank for personnel in the Traffic Warden Service was Inspector.

 “But when General Obasanjo, as civilian President came to power and IGP Tafa Balogun was there, he removed that obstacle and promoted some senior wardens beyond that rank. Now the Police Act and regulations clearly state that we can be promoted up to the rank of DSP. The ex-IG, Solomon Arase, implemented it and we had hoped and believed that the change had come to stay but disappointingly, the IGs after Arase did not continue.  Former IG Alkali, in his time, also commenced the promotion process and even nearly signed our promotion but he could not till he left office.”

The traffic wardens had earlier written to President Bola Tinubu, seeking his intervention.

The letter read: “Traffic wardens in Nigeria, an integral part of the Nigeria Police Force, are currently grappling with the grievance of withheld promotions, calling on  His Excellency President Bola Tinubu; the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu; the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Dr. Solomon Arase; the Minister of Police Affairs, Senator Ibrahim Geidam; the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio; and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Tajudeen Abbas to intervene.

“You may recall that the former IGP Baba Alkali Usman, when intimated of how traffic wardens had suffered unbelievable neglect, said the situation should not be and ordered the immediate promotion of traffic wardens just before his retirement.

 “The delay, perceived as unjust treatment, has left the officers feeling demoralised by the authorities responsible for their well-being. They argue that the welfare of traffic wardens does not seem to be a priority of the police authorities, exposing them to psychological and emotional distress, exacerbated by the present economic downturn.”

Efforts to get the reaction of the Spokesman for the police, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, proved abortive as he neither picked several calls put across to his mobile line nor replied to repeated WhatsApp messages sent to him.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Police Service Commission, Ikechukwu Ani, when contacted, asked for time to confer with the Nigerian Police, so that the PSC would be properly guided in its response.