There is a growing disquiet among officers of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) over the failure of the authorities of the corps to implement the directive of the Nigerian government that all para-military outfits to remove the dichotomy between Higher National Degree (HND) and bachelor degree (BSc) holders in their services.
The National Council of Establishment (NCE) had five years ago during its 39th meeting resolved that BSc and HND holders should both enter the civil service on Grade Level 08.
Years after the Minna meeting, SaharaReporters gathered that FRSC is yet to comply with the restoration of parity between graduates of polytechnics and university graduates.
In a circular in July 2017, the then Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazzau, gave approval for the abolition of the dichotomy in all the paramilitary services, in compliance with the NCE resolution.
He directed that all officers with HND were to be upgraded to COMPASS 08, which is the Salary Grade Level for holders of Degree certificates at entry point.
“The nomenclature for the HND holders will start with the Rank of Senior Inspector, the Degree holders are with the rank of Assistant Superintendent II,” the then minister had said in the circular.
While other para-military agencies under the Ministry have since complied with the directive, FRSC has yet to follow suit.
Some of the affected officers said the non-compliance with the directive is already breeding infighting and indiscipline among officers of different cadres.
“Years after this issue was done and dusted in other agencies, FRSC first placed all HND holders (except those who were on level 8 or above at the time) who were wearing on different ranks and on different salary grade levels in the Inspectorate Cadre (other ranks) on the same level, level 8 but not in the commissioned officers cadre.
“Hence, there was still dichotomy. It might interest you to know that ab initio there were segregations in FRSC. While a newly employed BSc holder is made a commissioned officer upon entry and placed on level 8, some of their HND counterparts (said to have studied professional courses - Engineering, Accounting, Environmental Sciences, Computer Sciences among others) are placed on the inspectorate cadre (other ranks) on level 8 and the remaining (who didn't study professional courses according to them such as Banking and Finance, Business Management, Insurance, Public Administration etc.) are placed on the inspectorate cadre but on level 7.
“There is still a third cadre (road marshal assistant cadre) with level 8 being the highest salary grade level there. Hence, FRSC has three (3) different level 8 in 3 different cadres, two different level 9 - 13 in 2 different cadres and two (2) different level 7 in 2 different cadres.
“It took over two years before the mother of all injustices now occured in the FRSC. It is to have compulsorily and with deceit converted all holders of HND at the point of entry to the Officers Cade and to level 8 notwithstanding their initial salary grade levels (some were on 10 and have completed the compulsory waiting period for promotion and due to go for promotion exercise to the next rank and salary grade level of 11 (another lacuna because salary grade 11 doesn't exist in the Public Service but only in FRSC, the purported elite corps). Hence, instead of supposed proper placement, it was demotion for these class of officers.
“The FRSC Management had among many other memos released one on 20th January, 2021 on this matter titled Re: Harmonisation of ranks of HND holders in the corps in line with the ranking structures of the police and other sister paramilitary agencies. It was with reference FRSC/HQ/CS/94/VOL.1/80. It was signed by Susan A. Ajenge, mni, an Assistant Corps Marshal who is the Corps Secretary, for: The Corps Marshal. She is a high ranking management member. The first paragraph of this memo reads -
“Management at its meeting of Wednesday, 13 January 2021 decided on the issue of harmonisation of ranks in respect of HND holders in the Corps in compliance with Federal Government circulars as follows: Marshals recruited with HND as their highest qualification at the point of entry will be granted lateral conversion based on the following conditions:
“The conditions which are three are as follows: a two week-conversion course will be organised for affected staff
ii) they shall loose one year of seniority and iii) original HND certificate must be sighted (mandatory). Lateral conversion refers to when an employee moves from one position to another _position at the same pay grade_ within an organisation.
“Moving from level 10 or 9 in the inspectorate cadre to level 8 in the officers cadre is certainly not what is meant by lateral conversion. The rank for level 8 in the officers cadre in FRSC is one star named assistant route commander (ARC). For level 9 is deputy route commander (DRC) and level 10 is route commander (RC). The implication of this anormally among others is that:
“There are now ARCs on level 8 (normal) and levels 9 and 10 (abnormal). As this was for all HND holders recruited in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019 who were all on different salary grade levels and ranks, now, they are all on the same ranks of ARC on salary grade level 8. You can imagine! It took 10 years for the 2011 intake to get to their present rank and grade level (level 10) before the said conversion. For those of 2012, they have invested 9 years in the Corps and it is 8 years for those of 2013 while others recruited in 2019 with less than 2 years work experience (who have not even had their appointments confirmed and on salary grade level 8) will now all be on the same rank of ARC. Why? What will become of the ten (10), nine (9), eight (8) years and so on of dedicated service they have put into the Corps?
“It will take the 2011 intake for instance another 10 years to reach their present salary grade level 10 before the said conversion, 9 years for the 2012, 8 years for the 2013 and so on. This is not just evil and wicked, it is satanic, grossly unfair, and ultimately the common cause of indiscipline/ insubordination in the Corps over the years,” an affected officer told SaharaReporters.
Another officer urged the management of the FRSC to without delay properly place all recently converted HND holders to the rank equivalent to their last rank as Inspectors in the oficers cadre.
“Not until this happens, the truth and the wicked plus evil ones will never rest as the truth will keep pricking the hearts and minds of the FRSC management.
“The general public, well meaning Nigerians, Corps Marshal and FRSC management team, Head of Service of the Fedreration, members of the National Assembly, Chairman of the FRSC Board, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and President and Commander-in-Chief should please help to right this wrong,” he said.