According to a report by SaharaReporters, the security operatives who are involved in the Exercise Swift Response along Nigerian borders are currently groaning under heavy debts as a result of the stoppage of their special allowances.
The officers urged the Nigerian government to pay them, and end the operation so that they can go back to their respective families.
Exercise Swift Response, which is being coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser, was launched in August 2019 when Nigerian borders were closed by President Muhammadu Buhari reportedly against smuggling and for national security.
The security officers include those of the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police, Department of State Services, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service.
Speaking to SaharaReporters recently, some of them said they had yet to receive their allowances for the past eight months.
They said the situation was so bad that if not addressed, it could degenerate into a security breach.
A customs officer said hoteliers around border communities had driven most of them out of their hotels due to their inability to settle their bills.
He said, “The last time we were paid was last June. This is not our area of responsibility; we were all drawn from different states to participate in the ongoing border drill. So all the agencies that are participating in it are entitled to Duty Travel Allowance every day but they usually pay at the end of the month. Since last June till this moment that I am speaking to you, we have not been paid.
“You know the operation is being coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser, so this January, he sent a message that he had been pushing for the Minister of Finance to release funds so that they could pay, but the minister is not willing to release the money.
“So, we are stranded here; many of us were evicted from the hotel. You won’t believe that the operational vehicles of Customs and Department of State Services were given to a hotelier as collateral till when they would be able to offset their hotel bills.”